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Running Hard Real-Time Applications and Linux on PolarFire SoC

By March 27, 2019May 12th, 2021No Comments

This article discusses the RISC-V-based SoC FPGA architecture for PolarFire SoC, which allows hard real-time applications and Linux applications to coexist.
Real-time Linux is eye-catching, but what exactly does it mean? The definition of a real-time system, in its simplest form, is one that executes deterministically on a periodic basis. Determinism is a first order requirement for real-time systems because they are generally controlling machines. You don’t want your numerically-controlled drill press to move from point A to point B in 10 milliseconds (ms) on Tuesday and perform the same operation in 20 ms on Wednesday. Likewise, a pilot’s flight control system should control the flight surfaces the exact same way, every time, under all conditions.
There are processors that can run Linux but can’t execute code deterministically, and there are processors that can execute code deterministically but can’t run Linux. Wouldn’t it be nice to have an architecture in your embedded toolkit that can support both? Microchip’s recently announced a RISC-V-based SoC FPGA architecture for PolarFire SoC which performs this task.
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