Xilinx and ARM Announce Development Collaboration

19 October 2009

Agreement sets the foundation for industry's next-generation programmable platforms


SAN JOSE, Calif., AND CAMBRIDGE, UK - Oct. 19, 2009 – Xilinx, Inc (Nasdaq: XLNX) and ARM [(LSE: ARM); (Nasdaq: ARMH)] today announced they are collaborating to enable ARM processor and interconnect technology on Xilinx FPGAs. Xilinx is adopting ARM Cortex processor IP, using performance-optimized ARM cell libraries and embedded memories for their future programmable platforms. In addition, ARM and Xilinx are working to define the next-generation ARM® AMBA® interconnect technology that is enhanced and optimized for FPGA architectures.

The agreement underscores Xilinx’s commitment to adopt the complete range of ARM technology, leveraging ARM’s processor strengths to provide customers and ecosystem developers with flexible computing platforms where their IP and software development can be shared and re-used on a broad scale. This is expected to allow programmable solutions to penetrate even deeper into existing markets and expand into new market spaces. Ideal applications will span the communications, automotive, consumer, aerospace, defense and industrial markets.

“Time-to-market pressures and escalating product development costs are driving the development of a new category of products that combines the processor-centric design methods and open standards common in system-on-chip designs, with programmable logic flexibility,” said ARM chief technology officer, Mike Muller. “By combining ARM’s leadership in low-power, high-performance processor and physical IP technology and its Connected Community™ ecosystem, with Xilinx’s expertise in FPGA technology, we can accelerate the development of applications across a broad set of markets for software developers and hardware designers alike.”

“While Xilinx’s adoption of ARM processor technology provides a robust roadmap for FPGA-based architectures, the collaboration and joint definition of the next-generation AMBA interconnect specification will deliver the optimization necessary to achieve the system performance, integration, reuse, and scalability required in these products,” said Nick Tredennick, a technology analyst for Gilder Publishing. “It provides a common technology basis for IP and system solutions to be developed, scaled, exchanged and shared in a way that will have a profound influence on the programmable logic industry.”

To help create a more optimal ecosystem serving both Xilinx FPGA and ARM IP technologies, the two companies are already working with a number of IP providers and EDA vendors including Cadence, CAST, Denali, Mentor Graphics, Northwest Logic, Omiino, Sarance, Synopsys and Xylon to support an advanced version of the AMBA specification, the de facto standard for on-chip fabric communication, which is closely aligned to ARM processors. Not only will this new interconnect simplify and extend the capabilities of next generation programmable platforms using the world's leading 32-bit processor IP, but the definition of the standard is aligned with the ‘Socketable IP’ aspect of the Xilinx Targeted Design Platform strategy. Because IP re-use is an essential component in reducing system development costs and timescales, this innovative plug-and-play approach means that IP developed by Xilinx and its ecosystem can be easily used without requiring the user to make a huge investment in vendor support.

“With open, standards-based solutions from Xilinx, we will enable our customers to further focus on their core solutions and differentiation through their IP while re-using established solutions from within and/or from ecosystem providers,” said Xilinx senior vice president of World Wide Marketing and Business Development, Vin Ratford. “We also believe this approach will foster a vibrant and robust ecosystem that will expand to provide both standard and emerging IP solutions that can be applied across many industry segments.”

AMBA and Xilinx Targeted Design Platforms
The AMBA protocol is the de facto standard for on-chip fabric communication that details a strategy for the interconnection and management of functional blocks that makes up a system-on-chip (SoC). The new collaboration with Xilinx optimizes this for FPGA implementations and introduces a new use model of being used with or without processors as well. The move to ARM aligns with the Xilinx Targeted Design Platform Strategy announced earlier this year, when the programmable logic leader mapped out plans to roll out development platforms based on industry-leading FPGA technology, boards, and standardized IP. A key component of the Targeted Design Platforms is ecosystem participation enabling mutual customers to easily scale their product designs around a stable architecture. The adoption of AMBA and AXI™ technology gives software and hardware designers that stability with a proven, broadly adopted standard for interconnecting IP blocks and building embedded systems.

About ARM
ARM designs the technology that lies at the heart of advanced digital products, from wireless, networking and consumer entertainment solutions to imaging, automotive, security and storage devices. ARM’s comprehensive product offering includes 32-bit RISC microprocessors, graphics processors, video engines, enabling software, cell libraries, embedded memories, high-speed connectivity products, peripherals and development tools. Combined with comprehensive design services, training, support and maintenance, and the company’s broad Partner community, they provide a total system solution that offers a fast, reliable path to market for leading electronics companies. More information on ARM is available at http://www.arm.com/.

About Xilinx
Xilinx is the worldwide leader in complete programmable logic solutions. For more information, visit http://www.xilinx.com/.


ARM and AMBA are registered trademarks of ARM Limited. All other brands or product names are the property of their respective holders. “ARM” is used to represent ARM Holdings plc; its operating company ARM Limited; and the regional subsidiaries:  ARM Inc.; ARM KK; ARM Korea Limited.; ARM Taiwan Limited; ARM France SAS; ARM Consulting (Shanghai) Co. Ltd.; ARM Belgium N.V.; ARM Germany GmbH; ARM Embedded Technologies Pvt. Ltd.; ARM Norway, AS and ARM Sweden AB.


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