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February 15, 1999


By CBR Staff Writer

Zilog Inc has gone to Santa Clara, California-based Tensilica Inc for a broad technology licensing agreement that will give it access to Tensilica’s new Xtensa application-specific microprocessor architecture and design environment. Tensilica – a two-year-old start-up formed by technologists from MIPS Technology Inc, Intel Corp and Synopsis Corp, says the Xtensia Processor Generator is a full embedded microprocessor development system that includes a configurable ASIC processor core and software development tools designed for the high speed development of system-on-a-chip projects. It includes C/C+ compiler, assembler, linker, instruction set simulator and code profiler, and the Tensilica Instruction Extension language, TIE. Tensilica says that a processor subsystem hardware design and a complete software development tool environment tailored to specific requirements can be produced in hours. Campbell, California-based Zilog, now concentrating on the home entertainment, communication and integrated control markets, is one of the earliest adopters of Tensilica’s technology. It says the system is a major ingredient in its technology strategy. Zilog’s processor roadmap includes combining the architectural advantages of CISC, RISC and DSP functionality into one Soft Core. Tensilica will install an on-site version of the Processor Generator at Zilog’s headquarters, which will be made available to all Zilog design centers via intranet link. Tensilica – the name combines the words silica and tensile (capable of being stretched or extended) – was formed in 1997 by CEO Chris Rowan, who worked on the original MIPS RISC instruction set at Stanford, MIPS and Silicon Graphics Inc veteran Earl Killian, now chief architect, Beatrice Fu from Intel Corp and former Synopsys Corp chairman Harvey Jones. á

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