OpenHW Group has announced a partnership with fellow not-for-profit Mitacs to launch a £16.2 million multi-year co-funded research programme for free and open-source silicon: OpenHW Accelerate.

“OpenHW Group is transforming how the industry adopts open-source hardware and is bringing relevant research projects to leading industry and academic institutions worldwide,” says OpenHW Group founder and chief executive Rick O’Connor. “With strong support from Mitacs, the OpenHW Accelerate co-funded research project is available to all members and technology partners across the OpenHW ecosystem worldwide.”

“The OpenHW Accelerate program, supported by the Government of Canada, represents a major step forward in open-source hardware research,” adds Mitacs chief executive and scientific director Dr. John Hepburn. “This collaboration marks the onset of first-of-its kind, openly-available hardware research to those around the globe; this accessibility reduces barriers for start-ups and small businesses to advance.”

The program is backed by $22.5 million (£16.2 million) in funding which aims to drive research in free and open-source processors, architectures, and supporting software stacks with a key focus on embedded artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning.

The first project to be confirmed for funding under the programme is CORE-V VEC, which looks at architectural optimisations for vector processing on RISC-V cores for multi-dimensional sensor data processing and machine learning acceleration. The project is a three-year partnership between Polytechnique Montréal and ETH Zürich, with industry sponsorship from CMC Microsystems.

OpenHW Group has confirmed it will release more information on the OpenHW Accelerate programme during a webinar scheduled for later this month.