[FOSSi Discussion] PULPino open source release

Davide Rossi davide.rossi at unibo.it
Mon Feb 29 10:58:44 CET 2016

Dear All,

We are happy to share our FREE microprocessor system PULPino!
You can download the entire source code, test programs, programming
environment and even the bitstream for the popular ZEDboard, completely
for free under the Solderpad license.

What you will get is a competitive, state-of-the-art 32-bit processor
based on the RISC-V architecture, with a rich set of
peripherals, and full debug support. At ETH Zurich and Universita' di 
we have put many of the ideas that we have developed on our research on
ultra-low-power parallel processing (PULP project) into PULPino.
It is the little hip brother to its more serious bigger brothers.

Are you excited about it? Stop reading right now, and go to:
to download pulpino.

If you are not convinced easily, let us tell you more about the details:

The core: PULPino is an open-source microcontroller system, based on an
optimized 32-bit RISC-V core developed at ETH Zurich and Universita' di 
The core has an IPC close to 1, full support for the base integer 
instruction set
(RV32I), compressed instructions (RV32C) and partial support for the
multiplication instruction set extension (RV32M). It implements several
ISA extensions such as: hardware loops, post-incrementing load and store
instructions, ALU and MAC operations, which increase the efficiency of
the core in low-power signal processing applications.

Peripherals: For communication with the outside world, PULPino contains
a broad set of peripherals, including I2S, I2C, SPI and UART. The
platform internal devices can be accessed from outside via JTAG and SPI
which allows pre-loading RAMs with executable code. In standalone mode,
the platform boots from an internal boot ROM and loads its program from
an external SPI flash.

More features: To allow embedded operating systems such as FreeRTOS to
run, a subset of the privileged specification is supported. When the
core is idle, the platform can be put into a low power mode, where only
a simple event unit is active and everything else is clock-gated and
consumes minimal power (leakage). A specialized event unit wakes up the
core in case an event/interrupt arrives.

Not a toy design: PULPino is a mature design: it has been taped-out as
an ASIC in UMC 65nm in January 2016. The PULPino platform is available
for RTL simulation as well for FPGA mapping. It has full debug support
on all targets. In addition we support extended profiling with source
code annotated execution times through KCacheGrind in RTL simulations.

And it is free, no registration, no strings attached, you can use it,
change it, adapt it, add to your own chip, use it for classes, research,
projects, products... We just ask you to acknowledge the source, and
if possible, let us know what you like and what you like and don't like.

Open hardware, the way it should be!

The PULPino source code is available on github, see
For more information on PULPino and PULP see our website:

The PULP team

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