Source: Unleashing Open Source Silicon from Open Source
So, why is coding and sharing circuit models any different from sharing software? Three reasons:
Let’s look at what the open source community is doing to help:
My personal contributions to this open source silicon movement stem from my startup, Redwood EDA. We directly target problem #1 by providing tools that support advanced (yet simpler) circuit modeling techniques. And, to address #2, we make all of our software freely available online for open source development. But neither open source EDA nor the efforts of my startup had been able to noticeably impact problem #3, access to hardware.
With a bit of help from Politecnico di Milano’s NECST Lab and ThroughPuter Inc., I was able to get a project off the ground, and it attracted some attention for this year’s Google Summer of Code. I was happy to see an application from Ákos Hadnagy who had done some other ground-breaking work with me in the last Summer of Code, and he was accepted into the program. Together, this summer, we built infrastructure, automated flows, and wrote documentation (or more to the point, eliminated documentation), and now, instead of a month to ramp up, it is now possible to develop for this platform in a matter of minutes!
So there is no longer anything standing in the way! Hobbyists can build and share hardware, and open source silicon can thrive. Just imagine the disruption this will have on the industry, which is currently driven by corporate giants. And with easy web integration, the opportunity and demand for hardware acceleration should rise, and we could start to see some interesting new capabilities on the web that were not imaginable until now.
Google certainly didn’t have this specific industry transformation in mind when starting Google Summer of Code, but I suspect the whole point of the program was to inspire and enable the unexpected. And it did!
If you’d like to contribute to 1st CLaaS or collaborate on some of the world’s first FPGA-accelerated web applications, we’d be more than happy to have you involved. I look forward to next year’s applications.
By Steve Hoover, Redwood EDA, Google Summer of Code mentor