About lowRISC

lowRISC is a non-profit community interest company, using collaborative engineering to develop and maintain open source silicon designs and tools.

Our expertise includes processor and SoC design, with a particular focus on hardware security, design verification, RISC-V tools, and the LLVM compiler.

lowRISC people

Board

The lowRISC CIC board consists of:

  • Robert Mullins - Computer Laboratory, University of Cambridge, co-founder of Raspberry Pi
  • Gavin Ferris - Dreamworks, Radioscape (co-founder), Aspect Capital (former CIO)
  • Alex Bradbury - previously Computer Laboratory, University of Cambridge and Raspberry Pi
  • Dominic Rizzo - Google
  • Ron Minnich - Google
  • Prof. Luca Benini - ETH Zurich, University of Bologna

lowRISC board photo

Team

The lowRISC team is based in Cambridge, UK. We are:

  • Alex Bradbury
  • Laura James
  • Luís Marques
  • Pirmin Vogel
  • Philipp Wagner
  • Sam Elliott
  • …and soon more! Plus we’re hiring

lowRISC team photo

At the University of Cambridge Computer Laboratory, Jonathan Kimmitt also works as part of our core development team.

We are also grateful to our collaborators elsewhere in the community, as well as the undergraduates, graduate students, and interns who have contributed.

Technical Advisory Board

lowRISC values

Here are some of the things that distinguish us in the open hardware world, and which drive and shape our work:

  • We believe open source silicon designs and tools will enable more efficient, flexible and accessible computing infrastructure
  • High quality robust engineering and great documentation are essential to provide complete and useful solutions
  • We are builders, creating and maintaining products - designs, tools, documentation
  • We are pioneering how to do open source silicon right
  • Sustaining an open, inclusive and participatory community is important, so that different people and organisations are welcome and able to participate
  • Hardware is hard. We are pragmatic, not fanatic. We make choices that enable us to take concrete steps towards our vision as best we can

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Our history

lowRISC emerged from the University of Cambridge Computer Lab, where our early work was supported by a private donation and a grant from Google.

We still work closely with the University of Cambridge, as well as other academic and corporate partners, and the wider open source community.

Ecosystem

The open source hardware ecosystem includes organisations working in many different ways, and working together to drive adoption of open source silicon. New relationships and partnerships are developing all the time.

lowRISC is a Founding Silver member of the RISC-V Foundation.

lowRISC staff are actively engaged in numerous key community initiatives and are frequent speakers at events such as the RISC-V Workshops, ORConf, and LLVM Developers’ Meetings.

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lowRISC C.I.C.

lowRISC Community Interest Company is a not-for-profit, private company limited by guarantee, registered in England and Wales with Company number 09272283.

What’s a CIC?

A community interest company (CIC) is a type of company, designed for social enterprises that want to use their profits and assets for the public good. CICs have all the flexibility and certainty of a regular company, but with special features to ensure they are working for the benefit of the community. A social enterprise is a business with “for-good” objectives whose surpluses are reinvested for that purpose in the business or in the community. (Find out more about CICs on the gov.uk site.) lowRISC C.I.C. does not have shares, so we don’t pay dividends, and any surpluses are reinvested in our work.

Who is the lowRISC community served by the CIC?

We directly serve the open source hardware community at large, including individuals (such as students, hobbyists, teachers), universities and research groups, non-profits, startups, SMEs and corporates. Open source silicon benefits the technology sector, by delivering flexible and secure infrastructure, using collaborative cost-sharing and unlocking more supplier options. Ultimately, therefore, we also support technology users worldwide.

How does lowRISC fund its activities?

lowRISC CIC undertakes collaborative engineering to develop and maintain open source silicon designs and tools. We’re funded by companies and others who want to support this activity, often targeted at particular projects, and we use any surplus resource to support our wider goals and community. We take on contract work, partner projects resourced through a mix of funds and shared engineering effort, and also receive support from grants and donors.

Bigger than the sum of our parts

Our model and approach allows us to have significant impact, regardless of our team size. We work with engineering teams at other companies, researchers, and the wider community to accelerate our projects. We always look for opportunities to fix blocking problems and accelerate development.

Incorporation information

lowRISC Community Interest Company is registered in England and Wales with Company number 09272283

Registered office address: 4a Newmarket Road, Cambridge, CB5 8DT, UK

Contact us

You can contact lowRISC at info@lowrisc.org

Please send any post to: lowRISC CIC, ideaSpace West, The Hauser Forum, 3 Charles Babbage Rd, Cambridge CB3 0GT