Established around 31 years ago as a spin off from personal computing company Acorn Computers based in Cambridge, England, Arm has come a long way and is now a leading provider of energy efficient processor IP and software platforms. The company has enabled advanced computing in more than 200 billion chips, and its technologies have securely powered products from the sensor to the smartphone and the supercomputer.
At present, Arm is sparking the world’s potential while creating a future designed by thousands of minds to enrich our lives.
“The beauty of the Arm ecosystem is that we are able to provide a common framework that will allow our partners and their end-customers, to develop the same program—whether it is based on a legacy Arm processor or the latest version—and create the continuity for their software,” says CK Tseng, President of Arm Taiwan. “We also enable consolidation of how they develop their software.” An example is Project Centauri, a new ecosystem initiative to achieve for the extensive Arm Cortex-M software ecosystem what Project Cassini does for the Cortex-A ecosystem, by delivering a set of device and platform standards, as well as reference implementations for device boot, security and cloud integration. “With Arm, developers can reduce engineering cost, improve security and accelerate time to market,” says Tseng.
Braving the Challenges
Arm technologies continuously evolve to ensure intelligence is at the core of a secure and connected digital world. With roughly 70% of the world’s population using Arm technology across all markets, Arm works closely with its ecosystem to address industry challenges.
“It’s crucial we identify the common technology challenges across various markets and find common themes so we can leverage our resources to benefit the majority. We are also focused on calling on the technology ecosystem to invest in open standards and open source software, to help drive innovation faster than ever,” explains Tseng.
Because it is not just the technology, he says, but the ecosystem. “When our partners integrate Arm IP into silicon, and then the device makers integrate our customers’ silicon into their devices—there will be an operating system, firmware and many different software challenges they have to handle,” says Tseng. “So, we have been putting significant resources into the software ecosystem. In fact, we have a dedicated team writing software code only for open source. We need to spend appropriate resources on the common pool so that we can save everybody’s time when they push their products to the market.”
According to Tseng, an IoT design and development cycle could take around five years before the product can be launched to the market.
Normally, from the design of a product to the launch of the end device, it would take around five years,” he explains. “This is a true challenge for our customers, because the product design cycle is quite long and if products are not designed correctly at the very beginning, it may not be aligned with the future needs of end customers.”
Designing the latest technologies into a IoT product can take 5 years or more.
To address these challenges, Arm Total Solutions for IoT was introduced to change how systems are designed. It’s a unique approach to IoT design to simplify and modernize software development, including hardware IP, software, machine learning (ML) models, advanced tools such as the new Virtual Hardware Targets and application specific reference code, resulting in accelerating time to market for developers, OEMs and service providers at all stages of the IoT value chain to accelerate product design by up to two years. Arm Virtual Hardware Targets removes the need to develop on physical silicon, enabling software-hardware co-design, which will bring modern cloud-based development to IoT developers.
Arm Virtual Hardware Target radically improves IoT software development.
Arm is not only helping established companies develop products, but also supports silicon startups with limited funding for innovation. Arm recently collaborated with the Industrial Technology Research Institute (ITRI) supported by the Industrial Development Bureau (IDB) in Taiwan to provide critical resources to make innovative IC design accessible to startups through the highly successful Arm Flexible Access for Startups program, which assists startups in accessing critical IP and accelerating the launch of competitive products for the global market.
Design Leadership Recognition
Arm has won three awards at the inaugural EE Awards Asia: Featured IoT Cybersecurity Chip Supplier for Taiwan, and Best IP of the Year for both Taiwan and Asia. The awards are in recognition of Arm’s security technology, and the Cortex-M55 and Ethos-U55 IP, which extends the performance of Arm’s ML portfolio for endpoint devices launched last year.
“Security is crucial from the chip level and Arm’s security technology has enabled billions of devices to be built securely from the ground up,” says Tseng. “Our IP and supporting solutions are designed with security at their heart, enabling secure silicon design for the total solution. Think about a wireless camera in your factory or warehouse, and there’s a breach of that security camera—that would be a nightmare. Security is a paramount concern and is a shared responsibility across the ecosystem. This is very important.”
“The EE Awards showcase a wide range of leading technical companies from across the industry and Arm is proud to have won three awards. Arm has been committed to improving power efficiency, performance, security of computing, and driving down carbon emissions for the past 30 years. These awards highlight Arm’s value proposition and continuous evolution to ensure that compute platforms can seamlessly and securely handle tomorrow’s workloads, and it’s really meaningful that this has been recognized by the engineering community of EE Times and the technical industry.”
Arm continues to invest in delivering performance uplifts generation by generation.
“For example, the Cortex-M55 and the Ethos-U55 have been designed to provide a combined uplift of up to 480x ML performance compared to existing Cortex-M processors,” says Tseng. “This huge uplift addresses the market requirement to do more compute on-device for faster response time, reduced energy consumption and greater privacy by limiting the need to send bulky data to the cloud for inferencing.”
“We have dedicated teams working out requirements for different segments and development managers regularly engaging with operators, ODMs, OEMs and OS vendors, to understand their future needs,” says Tseng.
Having a positive engagement cycle, not just with customers but with the key stakeholders in the ecosystem, enables the design team to identify market trends and assess market needs to stay ahead of customer demands.
Words of Wisdom
The awards are in recognition of the expertise and leadership of Arm. Even more so, they reflect the expert work being done by the engineers and designers in the company. Asked what he could advise the young engineers just entering the electronics industry to make their mark in the world, here’s what Tseng has got to say.
“When I reflect on my early career, when I made my choices, I would think about the long-term. What kind of engineer would you like to become at the end of the day? Think about your key strengths, your weaknesses, and how you are going to develop yourself. Don’t just take the easy job. Take on the challenges and think about the long term. Because the future of electronics is so bright. It’s the golden age for the semiconductor industry right now—no matter which segment or supply chain you are sitting in,” says Tseng. “You have to be humble; learn from others and take on difficult challenges. Understand your strengths and your weaknesses and find a way to differentiate yourself.”
“At Arm, we are continuing to work together with our global ecosystem of partners to solve the core design challenges and ease the entry barrier for developers. We are focused on moving beyond individual IP elements and optimizing the system to create use-case driven solutions to power the next decade of compute innovation,“ adds Tseng.
To learn more about Arm Cortex-M55 and Ethos-U55, the award-winning best IP of the Year, watch this video to implement AI at the endpoint.
To learn more about Arm, please visit: www.arm.com