OpenPiton: An open source manycore research framework

Jonathan Balkind, Michael McKeown, Yaosheng Fu, Tri Nguyen, Yanqi Zhou, Alexey Lavrov, Mohammad Shahrad, Adi Fuchs, Samuel Payne, Xiaohua Liang, Matthew Matl, David Wentzlaff

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

77 Scopus citations


Industry is building larger, more complex, manycore processors on the back of strong institutional knowledge, but academic projects face difficulties in replicating that scale. To alleviate these difficulties and to develop and share knowledge, the community needs open architecture frameworks for simulation, synthesis, and software exploration which support extensibility, scalability, and configurability, alongside an established base of verification tools and supported software. In this paper we present OpenPiton, an open source framework for building scalable architecture research prototypes from 1 core to 500 million cores. OpenPiton is the world's first open source, general-purpose, multithreaded manycore processor and framework. OpenPiton leverages the industry hardened OpenSPARC T1 core with modifications and builds upon it with a scratch-built, scalable uncore creating a flexible, modern manycore design. In addition, OpenPiton provides synthesis and backend scripts for ASIC and FPGA to enable other researchers to bring their designs to implementation. OpenPiton provides a complete verification infrastructure of over 8000 tests, is supported by mature software tools, runs full-stack multiuser Debian Linux, and is written in industry standard Verilog. Multiple implementations of OpenPiton have been created including a taped-out 25-core implementation in IBM's 32nm process and multiple Xilinx FPGA prototypes.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)217-232
Number of pages16
JournalACM SIGPLAN Notices
Issue number4
StatePublished - Apr 2016

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • General Computer Science


  • Manycore
  • Multicore
  • Open-source


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