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Wednesday 8 December 2010

ACTUINO day 1

Yesterday, while talking with Jeff about our respective and converging goals, a new idea came.

Today, actuino.org is registered. The website will appear later, one day, but the name is found and secured while we work toward the new milestone of an electronic board that is DIY-friendly, very powerful, affordable and paving the way for developing the YASEP.

The one big issue for me though is that I'll have to cope with the Atmel architecture, which I don't "speak" so any help is appreciated :-)




Friday 14 November 2008

Open Graphics board needs more preorders !

I got a nice contact with the Open Graphics project :

http://www.traversaltech.com/store.phtml

http://www.opengraphics.org

http://www.openhardwarefoundation.org

They need more than 40 preorders before then can do the first batch of boards ! With the biiiig FPGA on this, helped with the fat and fast SDRAM, it's not just a good candidate for a graphics card, it's a dream for CPU designers !! And look at those nice extension connectors...

It's going to cost roughly $1500. If I had the money, I'd buy it right away. However I'm broke AND the free Xilinx software tools don't seem to work for this large FPGA. Again, I'll have to do what I have done during years : wait...

Building momentum

A few days ago, I was contacted by a teacher from a french research laboratory (http://www.femto-st.fr/) who wants to integrate a softcore into a Xilinx FPGA. He tried to integrate a LEON into a 200k gates array without success. Knowing that I worked on F-CPU and now on something else, we started to talk. I had estimated that YASEP-16 could fit in one half of a 250kG Actel chip

Now it seems that his student is starting to dive into the whole mess that I've accumulated on http://yasep.org :-D It's very intriguing because I intended YASEP to be a 1-man project. I'll have to slowly give up on this idea... But this is good because it can only get better : external points of view can spot inconsistencies or weak points, test assertions that I thought valid...

It's getting quite interesting now and I am even more motivated and excited ! YASEP is slowly growing, it's not just a little personal hack anymore. Until now, I was alone on board, even when http://ours-agile.org asked for the core. But other people now look deeper at the source code...

Sunday 26 October 2008

No news, good news ?

So I've been busy.

I've spent most of the summer developping YASEP and now I'm almost broke, so I'm hunting more "mundane" activities (of the kind that will maybe help feed my geekette and myself).

Fortunately, before I blew up my savings, I was able to buy toys that will be useful "in the future", like those über-sexy 4Mx36bit synchronous static SRAMs that clock at 225MHz (unfortunately, available only in BGA, but I've grown up recently)...

But seriously, I'm stuck :-(

I would LOVE to spend all my time developping YASEP, because... well it's so easy now, and everything is coming together at last ! I would just think about it, hack a bit more and get new results... Furthermore, I receive some very positive feedbacks now, particularly from ACME systems. Their new FPGA board (called COLIBRI and equiped with a A3P1000) is almost ideal for a 32-bit YASEP ! I can even swap the 12ns SRAM with 8ns versions and get a boost from 66MHz to 100MHz...

As a side note, I have just found how to integrate the UMIN/UMAX instructions in the FPGA implementation, without bloating the pipeline.

So I'm OK but it could be much better, in a less material and pragmatic world :-/


PS : Not everything is bleak : after last year's breathtaking series of concerts, I jumped in Satine's new project Satine ünder philharmonëën' wich involves 40 classic musicians. I'll add LED lights all over the stage !

Look at the singer in this video : Mia wears a blinking LED earring that I designed especially for her last year. If you're interested by a custom version, don't hesitate to ask me !

I know, it's not related directly to CPU design, but the new jewel I'm preparing will have 8 cores...