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IMEC's Apollo makes progress, provides roadmap for spinoff

October 22, 2007 //

Apollo, a three-year strategic research program being pursued by research organization IMEC, is beginning to produce results in its quest to provide the technology for efficient migration to 4G communications and multiprocessing in the sub-45-nm era. It is also set to help drive business at IMEC’s latest spinoff, according to researchers.


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LEUVEN, Belgium Apollo, a three-year strategic research program being pursued by research organization IMEC, is beginning to produce results in its quest to provide the technology for efficient migration to 4G communications and multiprocessing in the sub-45-nm era. It is also set to help drive business at IMEC's latest spinoff, according to researchers.

Apollo, a follow-on from IMEC's multimode multimedia (M4) project, started in April and is expected to run through to mid-2010, although a couple of IC tape-outs at 90-nm are still pending as conclusions to the M4 work. Like M4, Apollo is aimed at producing a multi-standard mobile terminal as an industry pathfinder, but while M4 targeted a software defined radio Apollo is expected to move on to a cognitive-radio terminal capable of operating at carrier frequencies up to 60-GHz.

The project is targeting 45-nm IC implementations but is already producing results in terms of architectural considerations for power efficient multiprocessing and design tools, researchers said during press briefings ahead of IMEC's Annual Research Review Meeting last week. In six months the project has produced a multiprocessing support tool and an approach to variability aware design.

Apollo has been organized as eight stand-alone but interlinked technology programs including technology aware design (TAD), processor and compiler architecture, and multiprocessor support, according to Serge Vernalde, technical business director for nomadic embedded systems at IMEC.

The ADRES processor with its VLIW processor and reconfigurable array, which is at the heart of the M4 baseband chip, is likely to be recast under Apollo for multiprocessor deployment. Similarly the Scaldio CMOS analog front end developed for M4 operating at up to 6-GHz will not only get a redesign at that frequency but will be complemented by a 60-GHz CMOS AFE. This is expected to tape-out in 45-nm digital CMOS in the second quarter of 2008, said Liesbet Van der Perre, scientific director for wireless systems.

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