A2I POWER Processor Core Contributed to OpenPOWER Community to Advance Open Hardware Collaboration

Published on Tuesday 30 June 2020


At The Linux Foundation Open Source Summit today, the OpenPOWER Foundation announced a major contribution to the open source ecosystem: the IBM A2I POWER processor core design and associated FPGA environment. Following the opening of the POWER Instruction Set Architecture (ISA) last August, today’s announcement further enables the OpenPOWER Foundation to cultivate an ecosystem of open hardware development.

A2I POWER Processor Core

The A2I core is an in-order multi-threaded 64-bit POWER ISA core that was developed as a processor for customization and embedded use in system-on-chip (SoC) devices. It was designed to provide high streaming throughput while balancing performance and power. Originally the “wire-speed processor” of the Edge-of-Network SoC called PowerEN, it was later selected as the general purpose processor used in IBM’s BlueGene/Q family of systems, which helped to advance scientific discovery over the last decade. Built for modularity, A2I has the ability to add an Auxiliary Execution Unit (AXU) that is tightly-coupled to the core, enabling many possibilities for special-purpose designs for new markets tackling the challenges of modern workloads.

“A2I has demonstrated it’s durability over the last decade - it’s a powerful technology with a wide range of capabilities,” said Mendy Furmanek, President, OpenPOWER Foundation and Director, POWER Open Hardware Business Development, IBM. “We’re excited to see what the open source community can do to modernize A2I with today’s open POWER ISA and to adapt the technology to new markets and diverse use cases.”

“With a strong foundation of the open POWER ISA and now the A2I core, the open source hardware movement is poised to accelerate faster than ever,” said James Kulina, Executive Director, OpenPOWER Foundation. “A2I gives the community a great starting point and further enables developers to take an idea from paper to silicon.”

The A2I core is available on GitHub and can be accessed here.

Register for OpenPOWER Summit North America 2020 - a free, virtual experience - to learn more about the A2I core and other developments across the OpenPOWER ecosystem.


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