CEA-Leti debuts low-power reconfigurable multicore chip for software-defined radio, cognitive radio

(July 26, 2010) — CEA-Leti developed a digital baseband circuit for software-defined-radio and cognitive-radio applications that features less than 50 microseconds (µs) for full reconfiguration and multi-applications support.Click to Enlarge

The MAGALI chip, developed for fourth-generation mobile phones, is based on CEA-Leti’s powerful mesh asynchronous network-on-chip (ANOC) infrastructure delivering 2.2GB/s/link. The chip includes 23 integrated processors dedicated to signal processing and bit-level processing associated with an ARM1176 processor for medium access control.

The most powerful innovations have been made on the reconfiguration side. For the first time, a full baseband circuit can be reconfigured in less than 50µs (maximum time), while typical test cases show a 4µs reconfiguration-time (average time observed). Moreover, a multi-application support allows the sharing of the computing units between two radio access technologies (RATs). These two features make MAGALI particularly relevant to software-defined-radio and cognitive-radio applications.

Click to EnlargePower management has been a major optimization goal during the development of this chip. Based on the unique ANOC technology, 23 frequency islands can be programmed dynamically to ensure the best performance-versus-energy ratio. As a result, the circuit exhibits less than 500 mW for up to 40 giga operations per second (GOPS) performance, which is one of the best power efficiency measurements reported for a chip with a high level of flexibility.

MAGALI has been tested on a 3GPP-LTE application, delivering 50Mbits/s on a 4×2 MIMO scheme. It is integrated at present in a prototyping board used in two major European ICT projects, BEFEMTO (www.ict-befemto.eu) and ARTIST4G (https://ict-artist4g.eu/)

CEA-Leti presented the circuit at the flagship 2010 International Solid-State Circuits Conference (ISSCC) earlier this year in San Francisco. Read more about semiconductors at http://www.electroiq.com/index/Semiconductors.html

CEA is a French research and technology public organization, with activities in four main areas: energy, information technologies, healthcare technologies and defence and security. Within CEA, the Laboratory for Electronics & Information Technology (CEA-Leti) is focused on micro and nanotechnologies and their applications. For more information, visit www.leti.fr

Watch video interviews with CEA-Leti researchers from SEMICON West 2010


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