Power.org Accelerates Power Architecture Technology Adoption

Power.org(TM), the open collaborative organization that enables, develops and promotes Power Architecture(TM) technology, today announced the availability of the merged instruction set architecture–Power ISA Version 2.03–and the Power Architecture Platform Requirements (PAPR) specification. Power.org also released a consolidated roadmap for processors built on Power Architecture technology.

Today’s announcements highlight the momentum of Power.org and its plans to continuously deliver value to the Power Architecture ecosystem. The new Power ISA combines capabilities of previous versions and adds new features and functionality, providing the Power Architecture community access to more categories of capabilities for their implementations than ever before. The PAPR is designed to further the creation of innovative, high-performance, power-efficient devices and applications based on Power Architecture microprocessors by helping companies reduce development costs and time to market to gain competitive advantage. The consolidated processor roadmap includes products and cores from AMCC (NASDAQ: AMCC), Freescale Semiconductor (NYSE: FSL,FSL.B)., IBM (NYSE: IBM), Rapport,Inc. and Synopsys (NASDAQ: SNPS).

“A mainstay in the embedded and information technology arenas, Power Architecture technology has tremendous growth potential in the automotive, networking, wireless and gaming markets, as well as emerging growth markets such as consumer appliances and industrial control,” said Michael Paczan, chairman of the Power.org Technical Committee and CTO, Power.org Initiative, IBM Systems & Technology Group. “The release of the specifications underscores the commitment from Power.org members to help simplify development around the Power Architecture platform.”

“By making good on its commitment to deliver a new ISA, Power.org has demonstrated the ability to implement its vision of establishing Power Architecture as the premier platform for the creation of innovative, successful devices and applications,” said Glenn Beck, Power.org marketing committee chair and Power Architecture marketing manager for Freescale Semiconductor. “The release of this ISA is the first of many milestones planned for the architecture, and we look forward to leveraging the collective ingenuity of our membership to drive Power Architecture technology even further.”

Power ISA Version 2.03
The Power ISA Version 2.03 provides a consistent, compatible framework for creating microprocessor products and platforms based on Power Architecture technology for a broad range of markets and applications. The new ISA combines the capabilities of previous Power ISA versions including PowerPC, vector (also known as AltiVec(R) technology) and PowerPC embedded architectures. It also adds powerful new features to the architecture to improve functionality and performance. Power ISA version 2.03 was developed through a collaboration among Power.org members under the guidance of the Power Architecture Advisory Council led by IBM and Freescale. The new ISA can be accessed on the Power.org Web site.

To allow software developers to find common features across a range of platforms, the new ISA includes categories to encompass all the capabilities of the combined general-purpose and embedded versions of the architecture. The base category provides a commonality covering all types of Power Architecture platforms, including those in the server and embedded categories. The final component to the specification is a rich set of optional categories that draw the embedded APUs (niche-specific architecture extensions) into the mainline architecture. Categories can be supported as compiler options to facilitate software development.

New features include enhanced memory management, which enables the flexibility of software-managed page tables and supports multiple page sizes. The new embedded external process ID option gives an operating system efficient access to application memory to enhance the cooperation between operating systems and applications. The processor control option adds flexible interprocessor messaging and interrupts within a cache coherency domain, allowing for improved multiprocessor performance. A new server software thread control allows software to observe and control thread priority in problem state via the program priority register. Processors built on the new Power ISA will be software compatible at the user instruction set architecture level as with previous ISA versions.

Power Architecture Platform Requirements
The PAPR is the first collaboratively developed open platform specification from Power.org. It provides the foundation for rapid development of standard Power Architecture platforms based on the Linux(R) operating system for select applications. The specification provides a standard platform for streamlining the development of off-the-shelf Linux distributions and applications. A comprehensive computer system platform-to-software interface definition, along with minimum system requirements, enables the development of compatible systems and the porting of software to these systems. The specification can be used to create a range of compatible, industry-standard Power Architecture processor based systems spanning high-end embedded systems through servers.

In conjunction with the release of the PAPR, IBM has made available to Power.org corporate members a royalty-free license for its patents that apply to compliant systems developed from the specification. The PAPR is available to Power.org members and the Power Architecture development community, and can be accessed via the Power.org Web site.

About Power Architecture
Power Architecture technology offers the broadest, most diverse market penetration of any microprocessor in the industry today. It is the digital heartbeat of all three, next-generation gaming console platforms and the electronic brains of the world’s highest performance supercomputers. Power Architecture technology is also the leading platform for enterprise servers, automotive systems (powertrain, advanced safety and telematics), wireless and wireline infrastructure, and enterprise routing and switching.

About Power.org
Power.org is an open community of more than 40 corporations driving innovation around Power Architecture technology. Power.org provides an open ecosystem through which its members engage in collaborative innovation on Power Architecture technology. Power.org’s mission is to optimize interoperability, accelerate innovation and drive increased adoption of this leading processor architecture.

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