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openPower - the current state of commercial openness in CPU development - Matteo Michel

34c3 - Hardware & Making - 12/30/2017

How does developing future processors with yesterdays capabilities work out today? CPU development is something out of focus these days. In this lecture I would like to show the state-of-the-art processor development flow of POWER processors from the first initial ideas to post-silicon testing. Apart from x86 Intel products there have been initiatives across the hardware industry to form some alternative business model. I would like to show if and how this compares to real open principals.

This talk should first give a brief overview of how processor development is done these days and which steps are required to get to working products at the end of the day, what is needed from a technical perspective, how many people are involved during the process and which process steps are required. Second it should show which requirements are out there for server/cloud products and their customers. Third it should address why there is this openPOWER initiative and what it all means in regards to hardware development. It should show more detailed information the ideas behind this group of different hardware suppliers and universities. It will definitely not end up in an promotional talk but more look behind the curtains how open this format really is and if it can be used by real people at the end or if it only applies to commercial entities.

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