British chip company XMOS, in partnership with Amazon, announces the release of symmetric multiprocessing (SMP) FreeRTOS, enabling electronics manufacturers to build complex embedded systems faster and more easily than ever before.
With significant contributions from XMOS and other partners, this all-new SMP version marks a step-change in the capabilities of the FreeRTOS kernel, with verification and maintenance provided by Amazon Web Services (AWS).
Traditionally driven by the community, the widely known MIT-licensed open-source FreeRTOS is downloaded every 170 seconds by developers around the world. It brings a whole host of benefits for electronics manufacturers in terms of ease of use, design reuse and speed.
FreeRTOS offers a homogenous and scalable programming interface that can be trusted to run existing and future workloads. Now, for the first time in an upstream version, developers can work within a familiar FreeRTOS environment using symmetric multiprocessing to programme multicore architectures – simultaneously saving considerable time and money, and helping to improve speed to market.
SMP FreeRTOS will be available to use on XMOS’s flexible and powerful xcore chipset, which brings together AI, control, communications and DSP in an affordable, performant package. xcore is already widely used as a fast, simple and cost-effective route to creating intelligent devices across a wide variety of applications. XMOS’s recently released XTC tools, paired with the symmetric multiprocessing (SMP) implementation of FreeRTOS, take advantage of xcore’s unique capabilities through easy-to-use industry standard software language and abstraction.
With multicore processing now a standard for various forms of compute in the industry, the impact of the SMP FreeRTOS release promises to be huge. Mark Lippett, CEO, XMOS, said: “The SMP release of FreeRTOS means that developers can now use the flexibility of our xcore platform to architect custom solutions from the operating system. This is a major differentiation from other SoCs, which are substantially hard-coded in silicon. With full support for the C programming language, FreeRTOS and the deep learning framework TensorFlow-Lite, we ensure developers enjoy the benefits of xcore through comfortable and familiar programming models.
“Thanks to our collaboration with Amazon Web Services, developers now have the opportunity to programme and adapt applications for the IoT quickly and easily. With this release, a full voice stack, for example, with different forms of compute (DSP, AI, etc) can be run on a homogeneous platform, simplifying development, testing, and maintenance of software, and ultimately reducing cost and time to market.”
Richard Barry, Founder of FreeRTOS and Senior Principle Engineer, AWS Edge Devices, Amazon said: “We are really pleased to work with XMOS and other partners to consolidate and upstream the various symmetric multiprocessing versions of FreeRTOS into the officially supported kernel version. This enables us, as well as our expansive user community, to provide the same rapid and knowledgeable level of support across an even wider range of innovative processors and use cases.”