lowRISC brings together people from companies, universities and open source communities, for collaborative engineering to create high quality, secure and flexible open hardware and software.
We create verified open source silicon designs, and tools to develop, test and maintain these, and also contribute to open silicon IP and open source tools which are developed elsewhere.
lowRISC is an independent engineering organisation; we perform targeted development work and provide long-term maintenance, collaborating with engineers at companies, academics, and the wider open source community. We prioritise robust engineering and documentation, created through open processes, and act as a neutral non-profit home for collaborations. This attracts partners to build shared silicon infrastructure for large scale applications and free adoption by anyone, growing and strengthening a diverse ecosystem.
Open source for sustainability
Our longstanding participation in open source development means that we recognise the importance of maintenance and community, and so we design support for these in up front. lowRISC is striving to bring the best of the open source movement and digital working practices to the hardware world, whilst respecting the challenges of designing and manufacturing physical products. As an example, Rob Mullins brings lots of experience to lowRISC, being both a co-founder of lowRISC and of Raspberry Pi. Both software and hardware are essential for an open source silicon future, and we are building an open culture which welcomes participation from everyone across different organisations, backgrounds and experience levels. The lowRISC community is friendly and we seek to support each other to learn and collaborate well. We hope to be part of active, collaborative development communities with a broad range of contributors, much as is seen in successful open source software projects.
Research and development
lowRISC seeks to make the most of the efficiencies and benefits of open-source hardware. In particular, we are exploring new ideas in the areas of computer architecture, security, compilers and EDA tools, collaborating on research with universities to explore novel features in security and more. We are also keen to share our open source artifacts with others to help them prove and implement new ideas. We believe that academia in particular can benefit from access to our industry quality open IP, and from the ability to transition open-source IP from the laboratory to lowRISC for continued development and support.
The OpenTitan project is stewarded by lowRISC and is a partnership with Google, ETH Zürich, G+D Mobile Security, Nuvoton Technology and Western Digital. This effort sets a new bar for transparency in trusted silicon, and lowRISC is proud to serve as both steward and not-for-profit engineering contributor to OpenTitan.
Silicon root of trust chips increase trust in the integrity of the infrastructure on which software runs. Open sourcing the silicon design makes it more transparent, trustworthy, and ultimately, secure. Find out more about OpenTitan, the world’s first open source silicon root of trust, on OpenTitan.org, and check out the source on GitHub.
The OpenTitan silicon root of trust project is built using the successful collaborative engineering model created by lowRISC in partnership with Google and other commercial and academic partners.
Ibex (formerly known as zero-riscy) is a small 32 bit RISC-V core. With its two-stage pipeline and support for the RV32IMC instruction set Ibex is ideally suited as control core in many embedded scenarios. Ibex is a high-quality core: together with the RTL, lowRISC provides full UVM-based verification, extensive documentation and all the tools to successfully integrate Ibex into designs. All development of Ibex is performed in the open in the lowRISC/ibex GitHub project, where we also have an issue tracker to ask questions or get feedback from our developers.
LLVM compiler infrastructure
lowRISC leads the upstream RISC-V LLVM effort. Providing a high quality software stack is a vital complement to our work on open source hardware, novel security mechanisms, and post-design flexibility. This work is a good example of our engineering model (and avoiding duplicated effort). We want to help adoption of open standards like RISC-V, and that means driving forward the community towards high quality open source implementations of those standards.
Prototype 64-bit SoC design
Our prototype 64-bit SoC design is currently Rocket based, and we’re adding support for Ariane, a 64-bit core from ETH Zurich. We offer an FPGA-ready SoC distribution, with open source peripherals such as SD and Ethernet, together with documentation and tutorials. We use this as a testbed for new ideas, including tagged memory and minion cores. Our aim is to deliver a complete design to an equivalent quality standard as similar proprietary, closed IP.
lowRISC employs an engineering team in Cambridge, UK, working on partner projects, our own developments, and work-for-hire aligned with our mission.
lowRISC expertise to support your projects
lowRISC is fundamentally an engineering organisation and we bring our collective expertise across the full stack to the development of high quality, competitive hardware IP, together with fully integrated reference SoC designs that range from low power microcontrollers to Linux-capable platforms.
We prioritise projects which contribute to future open infrastructure, and we’re always looking for opportunities to reduce wasted effort (where private forks fix the same bugs!). We focus on code quality and maintainability, and making it easier for others to add custom extensions by ensuring basic infrastructure is available open source off the shelf.
We provide a home for multi-partner projects that deliver verified, high quality IP, documentation and tools, which provide the solid foundations that are necessary for the rapid development cycles required for next generation silicon products.
Collaboration is fundamental to open silicon and at the core of everything that lowRISC does. Open source is in our DNA and we provide an open, vendor neutral environment for collaboration that spans industry, academia, open source foundations and individual engineers. We bring to projects a deep understanding of open source licensing, contributor models and community building, providing a uniquely positioned engineering capability.
lowRISC is committed to raising the bar for quality in open silicon via a methodical approach that combines the development and use of best practices and coding standards, with rigorous testing and verification. This is made possible by a multi-stakeholder approach that includes commercial partners with exacting requirements, and with teams who bring to bear their significant experience of successfully taping-out high volume silicon products.
Research and development projects
lowRISC’s engineering team have close ties to university research in computer architecture and systems. We’re always interested in opportunities to collaborate with academia and industry on novel computer science projects and to contribute to close and effective links between cutting edge research and product development.
Get in touch
To discuss how lowRISC expertise could transform your technology activities, get in touch with email@example.com.