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May 31, 2018

Arm Releases New Research Kit for its Smallest Processor

Release aims to boost access for engineers who would like to prototype modern ubiquitous systems

By CBR Staff Writer

The hardware giant Arm has released its second research kit this month, giving engineers the power to design and prototype System-on-Chip (SoC) systems for its smallest processor – Cortex M0, in a bid to encourage innovation for the Internet of Things (IoT) and parallel computing.  

(An SOC is an integrated circuit that packages most of the necessary computing components into a single chip.)

Based on Arm’s Cortex M0 CPU 

The Cortex M0 is Arm’s smallest processor, with a total  floorplan area of just 0.007 square millimetres. It only requires 56 instructions to master its C-based architecture.

At a comparatively low cost, and with a simplified license to the DesignStart portal (which provides access to Arm’s intellectual property), this new research kit aims to provide access to engineers who would like to prototype modern ubiquitous systems through Cortex M0,

With the smallest footprint of Arm’s range of processors, applications of the research kit are suited towards IoT, parallel and heterogenous computing.

As the Arm team stated when launching the kit this month: “The SoC Design and Prototyping kit is suitable for academics and researchers who are looking to integrate their custom IP core into an Arm-based SoC, and will also enable them to use the exceptionally small and low power Cortex-M0 in different research areas; anything from SoC design to IoT, parallel and heterogeneous computing.” 

Aimed at Academics and Researchers 

Arm’s interest in perpetuating the Cortex-M0 and its range of processors for use in cutting-edge, experimental systems that will uncover new applications for the hardware is clear. Ultimately, getting their processors into the hands of the industry and academia may encourage innovation, discovery and more business for the firm. 

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Users will need beginner knowledge of the C programming language, beginner to intermediate knowledge of SoC prototyping and working knowledge of Verilog.

Supplementary Code and Documentation 

The kit comes with supplementary code (hardware and software drivers) and documentation helping engineers to get started with SoC design.

In addition, the documentation covers prototyping for FGPA; an integrated circuit designed to be configured by a customer or a designer after manufacturing.

This is significant due to the trajectory of the industry which is projected to top $100 billion by 2026 according to a publication by Stratistics in March this year, driven by IoT and big data. 

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