Introduction to MPRC

Overview

The Microprocessor Research and Development Center (MPRC) is one of the most important research centers in Peking University with many powerful supports. MPRC was founded in February 2001, with funds from Peking University. The principal research area is in computer science & technology and microelectronics. Taking full advantage of predominance in these researches, the main goal of MPRC is to develop microprocessors in China using Chinese own intellectual property. The research topics in MPRC cover a broad spectrum, including modern microprocessor architecture, compiler optimization, operating system, computer simulation and performance evaluation, hardware/software co-design, System-on-a-Chip (SoC) design.

The core culture of MPRC is "Talent Cultivation and Technology Innovation". With this ideality, the center summons a number of outstanding people. The director of MPRC is Professor Cheng Xu. There are about 100 people in MPRC, including researchers, visiting scholars and graduates. MPRC is organized into 4 research groups and a support office.

Research

In the past 5 years, MPRC has finished more than 20 research projects, which were funded by National 863 Program, National Nature Science Fund, National Grand Science and Technology Project, the Research Fund for the Doctoral Program of Higher Education (funded by Ministry of Education). Meanwhile, MPRC takes charge of teaching fundamental and experimental courses correlating to computer architecture in Peking University.

In 1999, MPRC independently developed the first top-down hardware/software co-design environment for microprocessor design in China, and successfully designed the Unicore16 embedded microprocessor based on that environment. In 1999, MPRC independently developed the first top-down hardware/software co-design environment for microprocessor design in China, and successfully designed the Unicore16 embedded microprocessor based on that environment. In December 2000, MPRC developed a RISC microprocessor UniCore32 with 32/16-bit mixed instruction set. Its supporting software system includes BIOS, operating system, simulator, debugger and full compilation tool-chain, which consist of compiler, assembler, linker and standard libraries. Based on this system, MPRC designed and implemented a prototype for high-end consumption electronic products. In 2001, MPRC developed several IP cores for SoC system, including 64-bit float-point coprocessor Unicore-F64 (in conformance with IEEE 754 single and double precision standards), optimized 32/16-bit microprocessor UniCore32 and other IP cores such as PCI Controller (PCI 2.2 compatible), SDRAM controller, 10/100M Ethernet MAC controller and DMA controller.

Using the IP cores mentioned above, MPRC designed the Unity-863 SoC in 2002. The Unity-863 SoC typed out with 0.25um techniques, and then passed the ASIC proven test at the end of 2002. This SOC contains 8,000,000 transistors, runs at a frequency of 200MHz, with less than 800mW power dissipation. In 2003, the improved version of Unity-863 system chip with 0.18um techniques passed the verification and typed out through MPW.

Based on the Unity-863 SoC, MPRC has built a complete SoC design platform. MPRC is now working at several SoC design projects with the cooperation of several organizations using this platform.

Now, MPRC focused its research interest on studying and developing high-performance microprocessor, system-level analysis/verification platform, SoC architecture, high-performance complier, operating system, etc. Based on these research fields, several powerful IP cores are being developed.

 

Cooperation

MPRC pays great attention to cooperating with famous research organizations and corporations at home and abroad. In 1999, MPRC founded Intel-Peking University Hardware/Software Co-design Joint Lab with Intel Corporation; in March 2000, founded International Research Center on Giga-scale System-on-a-chip (IRCGS) with UCLA, UCSB, NTHU (Taiwan), NCTU (Taiwan), Tsinghua University, Zhejiang University; in February 2002, founded Peking University-Lenovo Joint Lab on Syetem-on-a-Chip Design; in September 2003, founded Peking University-Mentor Graphics Joint Lab on System Design, at Shenzhen Graduate School of Peking University.

MPRC has a very good relationship with international famous EDA corporations, including Synopsys, Avanti, Mentor Graphics, Cadence, Novas, Synplicity, SpringSoft, Tanner. Through the endeavor with TSMC and Global UniChip, MPRC tries to introduce advanced design techniques to Chinese mainland, aiming at improving IC design level in the Mainland. Being the provider of TSMC technique libraries, authorized by Artisan Corporation, MPRC will directly provide MPW services for IC design units and research organizations that aim at TSMC production flow.

Directed and consigned by Northern Microelectronics Industry Base Leading Group, MPRC, as a technology and service center, will provide MPW (Multiple Project Wafer) services aiming at TSMC 0.25um-0.13um techniques to the whole country gradually, in cooperation with National ASIC Systems Engineering Technology Research Center, Electrical Engineering College of Zhejiang University, Microelectronics Research Center of Harbin Institute of Technology. At present, MPRC provides 0.25um, 0.18um TSMC MPW services.

Environment

MPRC(Beijing Base) is sited in 8th Floor, 1st Science Building in Peking University, with close 1000 square meters, 100 working positions. With the powerful support of 211 Project and 985 Plan of Peking University, the research and experiment environment in MPRC has reached international standard level, equipped with one Sun E5500 Server (64-bit CPU*8, 8GB Memory) as EDA server, 6 Sun Blade2000 (64-bit 900MHz CPU*2, 4GB Memory) high performance workstations, 2 IBM 370 server, 4 Multi-CPU Dell servers, 60 Dell Pentium4 Workstations, 20 Dell PentiumIII Workstations, 30 PentiumIII computers, 50 SunRay terminals and more than 100 PKU-UNITY NC terminals. The terminals and servers compose a safe environment isolated from external network physically, which can protect designs, data and EDA tools effectively. MPRC is also equipped with powerful SoC design and debug tools (logic analyzer, high frequency oscillograph, etc), and has the hardware/software environment to engage in 0.25um-0.13um IC and SoC designs. MPRC(Shenzhen Base) is sited in the university city of Shenzhen, with close 1000 square meters. Shenzhen base will take the advantages of MPRC in microprocessor design, system software, SoC design and the advantages of Shenzhen in system design/manufacturing, try to push the development and industrialization of IT core technology which has Chinese own IP.