Libre RISC-V Snags $50k EUR Grant To Work On Its RISC-V 3D GPU Chip

Written by Michael Larabel in RISC-V on 5 June 2019 at 12:18 AM EDT. 64 Comments
The very ambitious project working on an open-source RISC-V architecture to serve as a Vulkan accelerator for 3D graphics secured a minor victory last week with receiving $50k EUR from the European Commission's Next Generation Internet initiative. They will be using these funds to allow for full-time engineering work and bounty-style tasks to work on this "100% libre RISC-V + 3D GPU chip for mobile devices."

In case you haven't followed the previous articles on Libre RISC-V, this is the latest open-source GPU hardware effort that is taking the approach of using a RISC-V chip running a Rust-written Vulkan software renderer (similar to what LLVMpipe is to OpenGL on CPUs) for providing libre 3D graphics. They hope to have something ready in 2020 but their goal is just 1280 x 720 25 fps, 100 Mpixels/sec, 30 Mtriangles/sec, 5-6 GFLOPs and they think they can accomplish that with just about a 2.5 Watt power draw. But less than 30 FPS for 720p content really isn't much especially in 2020, but they are trumpeting it for its open-source/libre hardware potential.

Beyond the $50k EUR now available to them, they are also applying for additional grants around the formal mathematical proofs on their processor design. Details in their latest blog post, "There is still a heck of a lot to get done. However, it has to be said that actually adding an instruction decoder onto the 6600-style dependency matrices is relatively straightforward, this being RISC, after all. It is possible, then, that we may have a subset of functionality operational far sooner than anticipated."
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