Algotochip launches code-to-hardware service

Algotochip launches code-to-hardware service

Algotochip claims it can turn a C-expressed algorithm into a physical chip design in just eight weeks.

A California-based start-up claims to offer a service which translates C code algorithms into system-on-chip hardware in as little as eight weeks.

The service offered by Algotochip, as reported by EE Times, promises to take algorithms as expressed in C code and transfer them to production-ready system-on-chip designs in just eight to 16 weeks - several times faster than its rivals like Cadence can offer customers, and a significant improvement on the investment of time and expertise usually required for hardware design.

In short: programmers can write a neat algorithm - for high-speed communications, for example - as a standard C program, then Algotochip will turn around and give them a foundry-ready hardware design that turns the software into a physical chip.

The service, in which Algotochip works as a consultant using a proprietary toolchain to translate the software-defined algorithm into a system-on-chip design, promises to open the realm of hardware to an far greater quantity of companies than has previously been possible. With the company's toolchain working for system-on-chip, digital signal processors, application-specific integrated circuits and field-programmable gate arrays - among others - it potentially provides an entirely new means to market for smaller companies looking to improve hardware with an all-new widget.

The company claims to have at least six customers signed up to use the technology, although has so far only released details of one: MimoOn, a German company producing long-term evolution (LTE) communications hardware developed using Algotochip's service. According to Algotochip, MimoOn's mi! chip was produced in just 12 weeks from its original C-code implementation, with fabrication already successfully completed from Algotochip's Graphic Data System II (GDSII) files.

Many in the industry are suspicious of Algotochip's claims - in particular the news that customers retain all intellectual property rights pertaining to the finished design, and that chips created using the service are as power-efficient as those created in more traditional ways. The company has form, however: its chief technical officer and founder Satish Padmanabhan was responsible for the creation of the world's first superscalar digital signal processor while working at ZSP.

Should Algotochip's claims prove true, expect to see some interesting new chips appearing on the market in the not-too-distant future - something which will see industry incumbents fighting to innovate their way out of the increased competition.


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SpAceman 24th April 2012, 12:06 Quote
Not sure if this is detrimental to the value of my in-progress computer systems engineering degree or not..
r3loaded 24th April 2012, 12:12 Quote
Originally Posted by SpAceman
Not sure if this is detrimental to the value of my in-progress computer systems engineering degree or not..

Not really, they still need people skilled in Verilog and chip design to develop the tools needed for such a service! Besides, this is only useful for fairly simple chip designs.

Sent from my GT-I9000 using Tapatalk 2
SpAceman 24th April 2012, 12:36 Quote
Hmmm I guess it means a bigger industry for people like me who know VHDL/Verilog as well as C.

I am pleased.
Gradius 25th April 2012, 01:36 Quote
What about the prices?
AmEv 25th April 2012, 01:50 Quote
So, you could write the program on the chip, have the interface via something like HDMI out, something like that?

Or is it a specific kind of C?
west 25th April 2012, 08:24 Quote
@AmEv the interface is via the pins on the chip. This is for embedding algorithms that are run so many times on a given piece of hardware that it makes more sense to dedicate a chip to the task than to run it in software. The given example is a chip that runs complex algorithms on wireless data to help increase bandwidth.
AmEv 25th April 2012, 14:26 Quote
Ah. Still, that would be something to have a chip dedicated to have pure F@H.
r3loaded 26th April 2012, 08:48 Quote
Originally Posted by AmEv
Ah. Still, that would be something to have a chip dedicated to have pure F@H.
Bad idea - you'd need to design and fab a new chip every time they change their algorithms...
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