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XMOS Limited
Industry Semiconductors
Founded July 2005
Founder Ali Dixon, James Foster, Noel Hurley, David May, and Hitesh Mehta
Products Microprocessors / Microcontrollers, XCore XS1-G4, XCore XS1-L1, XCore XS1-SU, XCore XS1-AnA
Website xmos.com

XMOS is a fabless semiconductor company that develops multi-core multi-threaded processors designed to execute several real-time tasks, DSP, and control flow all at once.

Company history[edit]

XMOS was founded in July 2005 by Ali Dixon (then final-year student at the University of Bristol), James Foster (former CEO of Oxford Semiconductor), Noel Hurley (formerly at ARM Holdings), David May (former chief architect of Inmos), and Hitesh Mehta (Acacia Capital Partners). It received seed funding from the University of Bristol enterprise fund, and Wyvern seed fund (formerly the Sulis Seedcorn fund).

In the autumn of 2006, XMOS secured funding from Amadeus Capital Partners, DFJ Esprit, and Foundation Capital.[1] The name XMOS is a loose reference to Inmos.[2] Some concepts found in XMOS technology are part of the Transputer legacy.

XMOS' processor technology is general-purpose and has therefore been exploited in a range of different markets, including audio,[3] LED tiles,[4] communications,[5] robotics and amateur innovation.[6] This enables third parties to establish products and businesses based around the technology - and in June 2009, it was announced that venture capital firms were considering funding XMOS-related startups.[7]

In December 2009 XMOS launched a community website, the XCore Exchange as a site to enable and encourage innovative and entrepreneurial discussion and collaboration.


XMOS has developed several core pieces of technology including a multi-threaded multi-core processor; an interconnect switch that can route messages between cores, and a link that can be used to interconnect switches and carry traffic using a transition-based protocol.

XMOS coined the term Software Defined Silicon to describe hardware devices that can be programmed to implement low level I/O protocols. XMOS describes its processors as event-driven.

The technology has been embodied in the XS1-G4 XCore processor (a four-core device that can run up to 32 real time tasks), the XS1-L (single and dual core devices that can run up to 16 real time tasks), the XS1-A (ADC, and DC-DC converters), and the XS1-U (integrated USB, ADC, and DC-DC converters). Each core has up to 64 I/O pins that are under software control. The LLVM compiler and GDB have been ported to target the XCore family.

The xCORE-XA extended architecture, announced in October 2013,[8] integrates an ARM Cortex-M3 core alongside xCORE cores.

XMOS has also developed free programming tools that support C and C++ (through LLVM) and XC (a language developed to best exploit the architecture) through an XMOS-originated compiler. The programming tools are multi-platform and can be used from the command line or from an Eclipse-based GUI.

XMOS has produced a range of development kits for those wishing to develop using their processors. In November 2009, the first non-XMOS development kit using XMOS technology was released by SparkFun Electronics.[9] It has since been retired without a replacement from this vendor.

Programming XMOS processors[edit]

XMOS processors can be programmed using C, C++ or XC - or even native assembler. LLVM-based C and C++ compilers exist as well as an XMOS-developed XC compiler. Some of the hardware features are best exploited using the language XC - which is a subset of the C programming language extended with high-level programming constructs for explicit concurrency and timed I/O.


External links[edit]

Coordinates: 51°27′7.06″N 2°35′44.40″W / 51.4519611°N 2.5956667°W / 51.4519611; -2.5956667