ARC International

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ARC International
Type Acquired by Synopsys
Industry Digital IP
Embedded Processor Cores
DSP Cores
Founded Edgware, England 1998
Key people Geoff Bristow
The last CEO
Products Processor IP
Employees 110 (before acquisition)

ARC International PLC was a developer of configurable microprocessor technology and is now owned by Synopsys. ARC developed synthesisable IP and licensed it to semiconductor companies.

Configuration of the ARC, originally named the Argonaut RISC Core, happens at design time (as opposed to run time) using the ARChitect processor configurator.[1] The core was created in such a way that it is extensible. Unlike most embedded microprocessors, extra instructions, registers and functionality can be added, as if they were made from Lego. Customers look at the task they want to perform, analyse the task, break down the operations, and then choose the appropriate extensions (or create their own) to create their own custom microprocessor. They might optimise for speed, energy efficiency or code density. Extensions can include for example, an MMU, a fast multiplier–accumulator, a USB Host, a viterbi path decoder, etc.

Semiconductor company licensees of ARC products ship approximately 1.3 billion chips containing ARC processor cores every year.[citation needed] More than 170 companies worldwide have licensed ARC processors for a wide range of uses, from deeply embedded to high-performance host applications.


  • The roots of ARC International date back to the early 1990s. The company was founded by Jez San to build upon the 3D accelerator technology previously developed for the Super Nintendo Entertainment System by a division of Argonaut Software. This forerunner to the ARC was originally called the Mario (Mathematical, Argonaut, Rotation & I/O) chip and later dubbed the SuperFX. It went on to sell millions, at the time outselling ARM or any other RISC core.[2]
  • Following the success of the SuperFX, its designers were split from the main company to a subsidiary called Argonaut Technology Ltd (ATL). The design was renamed to ARC and marketed as a general purpose, configurable, microprocessor. Later, ATL spun off as a separate company, ARC International. In 1995 Bob Terwilliger took over as ARC's first CEO. He created the company licensing strategy, commercialized the product including the acquisition of Metaware, VAutomation and Precise Software. He raised $50 million pre-IPO and took the company public in September 2000, raising an additional $250 million.
  • 21 September 2000, ARC listed on the London Stock Exchange as ARK.[3]
  • 17 June 2002, ARC took over three companies, MetaWare, VAutomation, and Precise Software Technologies [4] but later parts were sold off to other companies.
  • April 2007, ARC acquired Teja Technologies of San Jose, California, a specialist in heterogeneous multiprocessor software.[5][6]
  • 14 June 2007, ARC acquired Tenison Design Automation of Cambridge, UK, a provider of software tools used to help develop system-on-chip (SoC) designs.[7][8]
  • 23 September 2007, ARC acquired Alarity Corporation of St. Petersburg, Russia, that specializes in codec software, firmware, and advanced multimedia architectures.[9][10][11]
  • 11 February 2008, ARC acquired Sonic Focus, a specialist developer of audio enhancement technology for digital sound.[12]
  • 29 July 2009, ARC confirmed they were in discussions with a third party regarding an offer for the company.
  • 18 August 2009, Virage Logic Announces Intent to Acquire ARC International'.[13]
  • 15 September 2009, Virage Logic Declares Offer to Acquire ARC International Unconditional in All Respects.[14]
  • 5 November 2009, Virage Logic completes acquisition of ARC International.[15]
  • 10 June 2010, Synopsys declares offer to acquire Virage Logic including ARC
  • 2 September 2010, Synopsys completes acquisition of Virage Logic[16]

Open Development Environment[edit]

Synopsys provides an open development environment,[17] based on the GNU tools environment (GCC, GDB etc.). It also offers the MetaWare toolchain which includes a compiler, linker, debugger and simulator.

The Linux kernel was ported to some ARC processors starting in 2006.[18] The inclusion of the port to the ARC 750D and 770D was planned for Linux 3.8.[19] The port is now part of the official release from

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "ARChitect Processor Configurator". Retrieved 2014-03-02. 
  2. ^ Bolton, Syd. "Interview with Jez San, OBE". Armchair Empire. Archived from the original on 17 December 2007. Retrieved 28 December 2007. 
  3. ^ "ARC INTERNATIONAL Share Price Chart | ARK.L | GB0009645481 | Yahoo! Finance UK". Retrieved 2014-03-02. 
  4. ^ "ARC International Completes Integration of Three Subsidiaries Into One Company". Retrieved 2014-02-27. 
  5. ^ "ARC buys Teja to speed multicore development". DSP DesignLine. Retrieved 2014-03-02. 
  6. ^ ARC International. "ARC Acquires Teja Technologies to Create Software Platforms and Development Environments for the VRaptor Multicore Architecture". Retrieved 2014-03-02. 
  7. ^ thechilli RED - Corp. Takes: Tenison EDA acquisition by ARC – The Chilli perspective
  8. ^ "ARC buys Tenison for simulation capability". 2011-12-15. Retrieved 2014-03-02. 
  9. ^ "ARC gets Russian R&D team with Alarity". 2007-09-24. Retrieved 2014-03-02. 
  10. ^ "Asics And Gate Arrays news item relating to Arc International Ltd". 2007-09-24. Retrieved 2014-03-02. 
  11. ^ "EE Times-Asia". 2007-09-26. Retrieved 2014-03-02. 
  12. ^ "Arc International's super Sonic buy - 21 Feb 2008 - CRN". 2008-02-21. Retrieved 2014-03-02. 
  13. ^ [1]<Virage Logic Announces Intent to Acquire ARC International
  14. ^ "Virage Logic Declares Offer to Acquire ARC International". Retrieved 2014-03-02. 
  15. ^ "Virage Logic completes acquisition of ARC International". Retrieved 2014-03-02. 
  16. ^ "Synopsys completes acquisition of Virage Logic". Retrieved 2014-03-02. 
  17. ^ ARC gnu tools; on GitHub
  18. ^ Oral presentation from Vineet Gupta at ELC Europe 2012. with slideshow available at
  19. ^ "[Phoronix] Linux Kernel Ported To The Synopsys ARC700". 2012-11-07. Retrieved 2014-02-27. 

Further reading[edit]

External links[edit]