LONDON – Cortus SA, developer and licensor of processor cores, has announced that Certicom Corp., a wholly-owned subsidiary of Research in Motion Ltd., has licensed the APS3 32-bit RISC for use in hardware security.
Certicom provides Elliptic Curve Cryptography (ECC) security technology and RIM (Waterloo, Ontario) is best known as the developer of the BlackBerry smartphone.
The APS3 is part of a class of compact 32-bit processors designed for low transistor count. It offers 32-bit performance on a silicon foot-print that is the same as an 8-bit 8051, Cortus (Montpellier, France) has claimed. The core is also focused on high code density and achieves low power consumption as a consequence and a performance of up to 1.67-DMIPS per megahertz.
The ecosystem around the APS3 is includes a development environment for C and C++, peripherals typical of embedded systems, bus bridges for interfacing to other IP and system support and functions such as cache and memory management units. For computationally demanding designs the APS3 can be used in a multicore configuration. The APS3 processor core is currently in production in a range of products from security applications to ultra low power RF designs.
"The APS3 helped us meet our design goals and provided the required processing performance. The APS3 co-processor interface allowed the integration of our specific algorithm elements directly into the instruction set enabling efficient firmware to be developed," said Dan O'Loughlin director of hardware technology at Certicom, in a statement issued by Cortus.
Mike Chapman, CEO of Cortus, said: "We are delighted to be able to offer a cost effective solution to Certicom that enables them to gain silicon space and power consumption."
David Patterson, known for his pioneering research that led to RAID, clusters and more, is part of a team at UC Berkeley that recently made its RISC-V processor architecture an open source hardware offering. We talk with Patterson and one of his colleagues behind the effort about the opportunities they see, what new kinds of designs they hope to enable and what it means for today’s commercial processor giants such as Intel, ARM and Imagination Technologies.