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Multicore Association Establishes Official Working Group to Guide and Standardize the OpenAMP™ Open Source Project

El Dorado Hills, Calif. – January 26, 2016 – The Multicore Association® (MCA), a global non-profit organization that develops standards to expedite time-to-market for products with multicore processor implementations, announced the formation of its new working group targeting the management, expansion, and standardization of the Open Asymmetric Multi Processing Framework (OpenAMP). This comprehensive framework, with first-generation implementations currently available in the Linux distribution, is supported by MCA members including Express Logic, Mentor Graphics, Micrium, NXP, and Xilinx. The OpenAMP framework enables developers to deal with the challenges associated with managing systems comprised of multiple operating systems and compute elements. The OpenAMP Framework allows application developers to leverage the parallelism offered by both homogeneous and heterogeneous multicore systems.

OpenAMP has support for shared memory protocol (virtio and rpmsg), interprocess communication (IPC), resource management and sharing, and process control (remoteproc). The IPC enables collaboration between heterogeneous cores running various software stacks. For simple point-to-point communication, the virtIO framework widely adopted in Linux distributions to map physical memory directly into user space applications, have been enhanced to accommodate the multicore and multi-OS paradigm. The remote processor messaging framework (rpmsg) also provides an IPC mechanism to establish a communications channel, adding the messaging structure on top of the simple shared memory virtIO framework for the multiple applications running on various software stacks to communicate between. In other words, the remoteproc feature within the OpenAMP framework allows remote processor interoperability between Linux, RTOS’s, and bare metal environments.

The OpenAMP working group, chaired by Tomas Evensen, CTO Embedded Software at Xilinx, will coordinate the collaborative definition and development process for enhancements and future versions of OpenAMP, manage open source contributions, and guide the technical marketing efforts to help establish OpenAMP as an industry standard. “While Xilinx has already implemented an initial version of OpenAMP for our Zynq products, we believe that this is just the tip of the iceberg in taking advantage of the potential capabilities of this framework,” said Evensen. “I look forward to leading this Multicore Association working group and helping to ensure it becomes a well-recognized, world-wide standard.”

The working group will also ensure that OpenAMP remains compatible with and leverages other specifications established by the MCA, including the Multicore Communications API (MCAPI). “MCAPI can be a layer on top of OpenAMP enabling higher performance use cases, communication beyond shard memory, and further capabilities such as zero copy,” said Sven Brehmer, MCA CTO and President and CEO of PolyCore Software. Brehmer added “OpenAMP provides a great complement to the MCA’s current specifications, helping to ensure platform coverage from low- to high-end embedded systems.”

OpenAMP allows software developers to programmatically manage lifecycle of individual heterogeneous cores in an SoC – the boot, shut down, loading, and execution of software, thereby allowing applications to maximize compute performance or minimize power consumption based on individual use-case scenarios,” said Markus Levy, President of Multicore Association. “Prior to OpenAMP, there was no easy, standard way for a master operating system to oversee discrete heterogeneous and/or AMP cores. Companies had to implement and maintain proprietary implementations.”

The original OpenAMP project, already released to the Open Source community, is available under a BSD license allowing vendors to re-license and implement proprietary solutions to meet their target markets. The project is run as a community based effort with a mailing list that is used for community based discussions around future architecture and roadmap. The mailing list is a collaborative environment to discuss ideas and submit patches to the Multicore Association’s working group for approval and standardization. Join the OpenAMP mailing list at https://groups.google.com/d/forum/open-amp; the first developers meeting is on January 27th.

Inquiries regarding membership in the Multicore Association and participation in this and other working groups should be made to Markus Levy (markus.levy@multicore-association.org). The OpenAMP working group is in the early stages of development – companies are urged to join now to help influence the future of this standard. For more information, visit www.multicore-association.org/workgroup/oamp.php.

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About The Multicore Association

The Multicore Association provides a neutral forum for vendors interested in, working with, and/or proliferating multicore-related products, including processors, infrastructure, devices, software, and applications. The consortium has made freely available its Multicore Communications API (MCAPI) Multicore Resource Management API (MRAPI), and Multicore Task Management (MTAPI) specifications, as well as its Multicore Programming Practices (MPP) guide and Software/Hardware Interface for Multi-Many Core (SHIM). Further information is available at www.multicore-association.org.

Product Specific Information

Express Logic’s ThreadX is a pre-certified, commercial-grade RTOS boasting billions of deployments in the deeply embedded space. Many current ThreadX deployments are already multicore designs. The Express Logic collaboration with the Multicore Association on OpenAMP delivers a reliable, commercial-grade interprocessor option to a vast number of customers and applications.

Mentor Graphics -The Mentor® Embedded Multicore Framework (MEMF) based on the OpenAMP standard is the embedded software industry’s first commercial solution for heterogeneous multicore system-on-chip (SoC) development. MEMF is an integrated development solution spanning device configuration, deployment and system optimization for heterogeneous system architectures. Tightly integrated with Sourcery™ CodeBench development tools, MEMF can be used with the Mentor Embedded Linux® platform, the Nucleus® real-time operating system (RTOS), bare-metal applications, and can also support Mentor Automotive Connected OS™, Volcano™ VSTAR AUTOSAR and Android™.

Micrium –OpenAMP strengthens Micrium’s real time operating system (RTOS) solution on multi-core system-on-chips (SoCs). OpenAMP enables Micrium’s product portfolio to target high-end multi-core designs combining a variety of high-level operating systems and RTOSes using a portable cross-platform API over a standardized protocol. Developers can leverage Micrium’s multi-core technology to increase performance, reduce power usage and improve the safety and security for their applications.

Xilinx – OpenAMP allows Xilinx to create a standard, open, multi-OS framework that solves the problems to manage and communicate in a multi-OS, heterogeneous environment. By enabling OpenAMP on the Zynq7000 and Zynq UltraScale+ with the Xilinx OpenAMP Framework, this ensures that all OpenAMP applications will work seamlessly on Xilinx supported SoCs and supports OS environments such as Linux, FreeRTOS, and bare metal. Having a standard built around OpenAMP will allow applications written for the Xilinx OpenAMP framework to be compatible with implementations from our partners RTOS-specific OpenAMP offerings.

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