RISC-V SoftCPU Contest Winners Demonstrate Cutting-Edge RISC-V Implementations for FPGAs

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Today at the RISC-V Summit, the RISC-V Foundation, a non-profit corporation controlled by its members to drive the adoption and implementation of the free and open RISC-V instruction set architecture (ISA), honored the winners of the RISC-V SoftCPU Contest for creating innovative FPGA based CPU implementations targeting the RISC-V ISA.

The winners of the contest include: Charles Papon with VexRiscv in 1st place, Antti Lukats with Engine-V in 2nd place, Changyi Gu with PulseRain Reindeer in 3rd place and Olof Kindgren with SERV for the Creativity prize.

Sponsored by RISC-V Foundation Founding Platinum members Google, Antmicro, Lattice Semiconductor and Microchip Technology, through its Microsemi subsidiary, the RISC-V SoftCPU Contest was launched to promote innovative vendor-independent, modular and reusable FPGA applications. The participants were challenged to build extremely small, extremely powerful, softcore RISC-V implementations, with additional points awarded for novel approaches to the implementation itself.

“The RISC-V ISA is ushering in a new era of innovation, empowering companies and designers around the world to develop a wide variety of implementations that solve today’s most complex design challenges,” said Rick O’Connor, executive director of the non-profit RISC-V Foundation. “The RISC-V SoftCPU Contest showcased how embedded designers can easily experiment with RISC-V implementations on FPGAs, designing novel approaches even within a limited timeframe.”

The entries were assessed on multiple criteria, including size and performance. While each winning entry targets a different set of tasks, the highest scoring were designed to work well on both the 25K LUT Microsemi IGLOO™2 or SmartFusion™2, or the 5K LUT Lattice iCE40 UltraPlus™ parts. All scoring entries are compliant with the RV32I ISA. Notably, the smallest entry, Engine-V created by Antti Lukats, used as little as 306 x LUT4s in the ultra-low resource design.


  • 1st Place: Charles Papon with VexRiscv was awarded $6,000 USD. Check out VexRiscv on GitHub: https://github.com/SpinalHDL/VexRiscvSoftcoreContest2018
  • 2nd Place: Antti Lukats with Engine-V was awarded $3,000 USD, a Splash Kit and an iCE40 UltraPlus MDP. Check out Engine-V on GitHub: https://github.com/micro-FPGA/engine-V
  • 3rd Place: Changyi Gu with PulseRain Reindeer was awarded $1,000 USD, a PolarFire Evaluation Kit and an iCE40 UltraPlus Breakout Board. Check out PulseRain Reindeer at GitHub: https://github.com/PulseRain/Reindeer
  • Creativity Prize: Olof Kindgren with SERV was awarded $3,000 USD. Check out SERV at GitHub: https://github.com/olofk/serv

About RISC-V Foundation

RISC-V (pronounced "risk-five") is a free and open ISA enabling a new era of processor innovation through open standard collaboration. Founded in 2015, the RISC-V Foundation comprises more than 200 members building the first open, collaborative community of software and hardware innovators powering a new era of processor innovation. Born in academia and research, RISC-V ISA delivers a new level of free, extensible software and hardware freedom on architecture, paving the way for the next 50 years of computing design and innovation.

The RISC-V Foundation, a non-profit corporation controlled by its members, directs the future development and drives the adoption of the RISC-V ISA. Members of the RISC-V Foundation have access to and participate in the development of the RISC-V ISA specifications and related HW / SW ecosystem. More information can be found at www.riscv.org.

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Business Wire: 18:00 GMT Thursday 6th December 2018

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