Creating a fully open-source SoC design

lowRISC is a not-for-profit project to produce a completely open source SoC (System on Chip), with plans for volume silicon manufacture and low-cost development boards. We use the open RISC-V instruction set architecture, and are based at the University of Cambridge Computer Laboratory. lowRISC has its roots in the Raspberry Pi project, which two of the co-founders were heavily involved in.

The ultimate goals of lowRISC are:

  • To create a fully open SoC and low-cost development board and to support the open-source hardware community. This will involve volume silicon manufacture.
  • To explore and promote novel hardware security features
  • To make it simple for existing companies and especially semiconductor startups to create derivative designs, e.g. by sharing scripts, tools, source and our experience
  • To create a benchmark design to aid academic research

We are taking part in GSoC as an umbrella project, in collaboration with a number of other projects, either directly producing open source hardware or useful for developing open source hardware. You don't have to be a hardware designer to contribute, we have a range of projects in the hardware or software realm, in a variety of programming languages.

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  • verilog
  • fpga
  • chisel
  • c++
  • linux


  • embedded hardware
  • system-on-chip
  • security
  • education
  • debug
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lowRISC 2016 Projects

  • El-Mohr
    Arduino to PULPino library porting
    PULPino is an open-source microcontroller system, based on a small 32-bit RISC-V core. Importing Arduino Libraries to PULPino architecture should...
  • diadatp
    Integrate more open-source IP for lowRISC on FPGAs
    To introduce open-source IP for components such as an NASTI slave memory mapped DDRx controller.
  • rahulmahadev
    Porting OPTEE to lowRISC
    This project aims to port OPTEE for a RISC-V based machine by implementing trust-zone mechanisms using minion cores and tagged memory. Also OPTEE...
  • Jeff Rogers
    Porting xv6 to the lowRISC platform
    Xv6 is a “simple Unix-like teaching operating system”. It is based on Sixth Edition Unix and written in ANSI C for x86. Its simplicity coupled with...