IIT Rourkee 2021


The Libre-SOC Project aims to create an entirely Libre-Licensed, transparently-developed fully auditable Hybrid 3D CPU-GPU-VPU, using the Supercomputer-class OpenPOWER ISA as the foundation.

Our first test ASIC is a 180nm "Fixed-Point" Power ISA v3.0B processor, 5.1mm x 5.9mm, as a proof-of-concept for the team, whose primary expertise is in Software Engineering. Software Engineering training brings a radically different approach to Hardware development: extensive unit tests, source code revision control, automated development tools are normal. Libre Project Management brings even more: bugtrackers, mailing lists, auditable IRC logs and a wiki are standard fare for Libre Projects that are simply not normal Industry-Standard practice.

This talk therefore goes through the workflow, from the original HDL through to the GDS-II layout, showing how we were able to keep track of the development that led to the IMEC 180nm tape-out in July 2021. In particular, by following a parallel development process involving "Real" and "Symbolic" Cell Libraries, developed by Chips4Makers, will be shown how our developers did not need to sign a Foundry NDA, but were still able to work side-by-side with a University that did. With this parallel development process, the University upheld their NDA obligations, and Libre-SOC were simultaneously able to honour its Transparency Objectives.