The news about Agile Analog joining the RISC-V International as a strategic member reinforces the analog IP presence in a growing ecosystem built around a free and open processor instruction set architecture (ISA). Agile Analog is a supplier of analog building blocks implemented in highly configurable IP offerings, unlike the current business model in which analog IP is mostly limited to off-the-shelf, standard IP products.
RISC-V International, the non-profit organization that maintains RISC-V as a free and open processor ISA, has accepted Agile Analog as a strategic member, which underscores the analog’s crucial role in chips built around the RISC-V architectures. Agile Analog claims that its IP can be configured to meet the functional requirements of an application while complying with the fab, process, and node in which the chip is to be fabricated.
The Cambridge, England-based firm’s mission statement ‘Analog IP the way you want it’ reflects this product differentiation in which IP building blocks are agnostic of process node. While Agile Analog’s IP offerings are compatible with almost all analog CMOS processes, including advanced FinFET processes, the company aims to expand the number of foundries it supports.
Source: Agile Analog
In May 2021, Agile Analog announced a $19 million funding round led by OMERS Ventures, which the startup aims to spend on technology development to enhance process support and increase the range of analog IP supported. The company also plans to double its headcount to over 100 people over the next 12 months.
Agile Analog’s IP offerings span security, data conversion, power management, audio, signal processing, and timing. Within the RISC-V chip design realm, there is a strong demand for security monitoring functions such as clock and voltage glitch detection that are used to protect against side-channel attacks.
A growing number of semiconductor outfits are embracing the RISC-V’s open license business model to accelerate chip designs compared to longer design cycles required in proprietary processor architectures. The addition of a supplier of configurable IP offerings for analog building blocks is expected to widen access in the ever-growing RISC-V design ecosystem.
Majeed Ahmad, Editor-in-Chief of EDN and Planet Analog, has covered the electronics design industry for more than two decades.
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