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Alibaba Chip Subsidiary Launches First Product Using Open-Source Architecture

By Zhao Runhua / Jul 25, 2019 05:35 PM / Business & Tech

Photo: VCG

Photo: VCG

Alibaba’s chip-making subsidiary Pingtouge launched its first product on Thursday: chip processor XuanTie 910, which uses open-source architecture.  

The processor will be used in applications including 5G telecommunications, artificial intelligence, and autonomous driving, and can lower the costs of related chip production by more than 50%, Alibaba said. Alibaba told Caixin the processor from Pingtouge, which is also known as T-Head, will soon be available for commercial sale, without providing a timetable or price range. 

Notably, the processor uses the RISC-V instruction set architecture (ISA)—key programming infrastructure that decides how a device functions. Developers are allowed to build their own products using the Berkeley-based open-source ISA, with few intellectual property restrictions.

Open-source technologies are becoming an increasingly attractive option to Chinese companies that fear being blocked by foreign governments from dealing with major chip-designers like ARM Ltd.

To promote innovation, Pingtouge will soon allow global developers to download some of XuanTie 910’s code for free on GitHub, Alibaba told Caixin.

Contact reporter Zhao Runhua (runhuazhao@caixin.com)

Related: Chip-Designer ARM Breaks Silence on Huawei Ties

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