I’ve founded OpenCores in October 1999, as an open source community for development and distribution of VHDL/Verilog IP cores – building blocks of semiconductor chips.
It soon became world wide known by ASIC and FPGA engineers. Within the 2006 alone, more than 5000 different companies have downloaded IP from OpenCores. On an average month, 80,000 engineers and others visited OpenCores web site and generated 7.5 million web hits and 2.8 million page views. More than a million engineers from more than 10,000 organizations world wide have downloaded IP from OpenCores in the first 8 years of its existence. OpenCores users include:
OpenRISC 32-bit processor
I've designed an open source 32-bit RISC processor. This processor has been used in hundereds of designs (ASICs, SOCs and FPGAs) among other in Samsung Digital TVs, Sony Ericsson phones, Zigbee devices (Jennic Ltd zigbee chipset), Broadcom networking chips, Siemens and even in satellite chip designed by AAC Microtec for TechEdSat and deployed to International Space Station. For more information see OpenRISC Wikipedia page.
The birth of OpenRISC has been featured in printed edition of EETimes in February 2000.
I’ve co-founded the company to extend OpenRISC into commercial space. Many companies wanted special RISC instructions specific to their application, dedicated support and special licensing terms.
There were several challenges working for Flextronics, one of the world’s largest contract manufacturers.
First, I got an opportunity to convince Flextronics to open a semiconductor design center in Slovenia. This was much harder than it sounds – because Slovenia had virtually no semiconductor industry. I convienced Flextronics to invest $2 million USD, and I've raised a $1 million USD from the Slovenian government. This is how we started and got state of the art semiconductor tools, usually exclusively found in large semiconductor companies. In the following years I have raised another $3 million USD in investments.
Second, I had to juggle between different roles. I was managing director of the Flextronics Slovenia design center and at the same time I was also responsible for Flextronics’ European SOC semiconductor engineering activities, and had 20 on staff. On one side I was involved in all business activities of European and Slovenian activities, such as pre-sales and sales activities, reporting to the parent company, administrative and human resources activities. On the other side I was also involved in all major technical discussion in our SOC/ASIC/FPGA/System projects. During my years at Flextronics, I have done a lot of traveling around Europe, to the US and Israel.
We had very diverse projects, from FPGA based system projects for Siemens, to pure SOC projects using at the time leading edge 180nm standard cell based CMOS technology. Very often the project did not only involve a SOC/ASIC, but also an FPGA prototype, system board design and software+operating system development.
My last project was an imagining chip – used in the camera of this Sony Ericsson mobile phone. The imaging expertise developed during this project formed the foundation for the imaging group of Insilica Inc.
In 2004, Flextronics International decided to sell its Flextronics Semiconductor division. My design center was sold to Insilica Inc – I stayed during the transition period and then decided it is time to start something of my own. The next step was Beyond Semiconductor, with intention to see how the OpenRISC can be commercialized.
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