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Mirifice is a venture-backed Company based in Bath, England, founded by Paul Tinkler, Alex Dick and Niall Buckingham in 2004, with the aim of providing innovative solutions for the Media industry.
The company is active in two areas, with two distinct product families.
Picochip developed a multi-core digital signal processor, the picoArray. This integrates 250-300 individual DSP cores onto a single die (depending on the specific product). Each of these cores is a 16-bit processor with Harvard architecture, local memory and 3-way VLIW.
The programming model allows each processor to be coded independently (in ANSI C or assembler) and then to communicate over an any:any interconnect mesh. The communication flows are fixed at compile time, not dynamically at run time (analogous to place & route of an FPGA but at higher level of abstraction). This can be described as communicating sequential processes. Each process maps to a processor, which is fully independent from other processors with "encapsulation", with interaction only through defined message passing and data flows through the mesh. This architecture is also related to object-oriented programming concepts. Notably, the development environment is deterministic: simulation of code is cycle-accurate to hardware execution. Advantages claimed include ease of development, improved reliability of code and software-reuse.
Although the picoArray architecture is generic and could in principle be used for any DSP application, the company has stated its strategy is to focus on wireless infrastructure. In particular, the processor is widely used for baseband processing in WiMAX base stations and for femtocells.
Independent benchmarks of representative communications systems by Berkeley Design (BDTI) indicate that the picoArray delivers significantly better performance-per-dollar than traditional single-core DSP devices.
Femtocells and Small Cells
Picochip was one of the earliest companies to be active in femtocells and small cells, and first demonstrated a prototype at MWC2005. The company has since developed a range of system-on-chip (SoC) products named "picoXcell". The company claimed to be the leading supplier of SoCs into the small cell market, with 70% share of the high-speed packet access (HSPA) market according to data from ABI Research.
The company was a founder member of the SmallCell Forum, and is on the executive board of that organisation.
The company was originally set up in the University of Bath´s Innovation Centre, part of the SETsquared Partnership. In 2006 the company outgrew the facilities provided by the SETsquared Partnership, due to the strong growth in both its consultancy services business and its MiriMON® and MiriATE® products business, and moved to its own premises in central Bath. Mirifice secured funding from the South West Ventures Fund in 2007 to further develop its MiriMON® monitoring product, which won an IBC Pick Hit Award.
- "Bath microchip firm snapped up by American company in multi-million dollar deal". Bath Chronicle. 5 January 2012. Retrieved 7 January 2012.
- Ben Rooney (6 January 2012). "Small-Cell Maker Picochip Acquired by Mindspeed". Wall Street Journal. Retrieved 7 January 2012.
- Company website
- BDTI Analysis and Architecture discussion
- BDTI Benchmark results
- Presentation and video on programming architecture
- BDTI performance benchmark
Category:Companies established in 2000 Category:Wireless networking hardware Category:Reconfigurable computing Category:Digital signal processors Category:Fabless semiconductor companies Category:Companies based in Bath, Somerset