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Master Thesis, 30 HP: Novel heterogeneous microarchitectures using Risc-V

Göteborg, Sweden
Closing date
28 October 2021
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Using the Risc-V architecture to build specialized cost-effective solutions for radar applications.

Your role

In the 90's and early 2000's, CPU providers like Intel and other competed mainly by making their CPU's faster and more complex. Then we saw a shift towards making CPU's with many complex cores and competition became more about finding fast core and memory interconnect solutions so that the many cores could work better. The latest trend in this seem to be to abandon the "as many cores as possible"-doctrine and instead look at bespoke CPU-architecture solutions where core functionality is implemented in hardware to accelerate the software. Last year, a big computer manufacturer released laptops with a custom built main CPU. They used the ARM instruction set architecture (ISA) to infuse the chip with special functionality that allowed them to accelerate tasks that most people perform. The result was a performance in most relevant use cases that was head and shoulders above the competition. 

Since ARM is a proprietary ISA it is not that easy to start using it for experimentation, which is why Risc-V was developed. Risc-V, like ARM, is a reduced instruction set computer ISA that can be extended with new and novel implementations. As such, it is possible to design CPU's that can be used to run a standard operating system, like Linux, and standard applications, but that can also accelerate certain tasks in hardware.

Modern radar systems have must efficiently and quickly perform certain types of calculations in signal- and data processing. Using general purpose CPU:s for these tasks is not optimal and current solutions include FPGA:s and even GPU:s. It would be very beneficial if we could have a custom CPU that included hardware accelerations for these tasks, while still being slot-in compatible with standard CPU:s. In the future it may be possible to buy such custom parts at a price that is competitive with current solutions, which could yield faster systems that use less power.

Description of the master's thesis
This master's thesis is divided into three phases. In the first phase, you will research the concepts and current state of Risc-V and Risc-V how to create extensions for Risc-V. Based on this you will then work with Saab engineers to create a suitable extension for Risc-V in a simulated environment. Finally you will demonstrate running the simulated extended Risc-V processor in the simulator and show what kind of gains, if any, that would yield compared to a solution using a general purpose CPU.

Your profile

We are looking for 2 master's degree students with an interest in:

  • Microarchitecture
  • Embedded systems
  • Signal processing

You are at the end of your master's degree in Computer Science, Electrical engineering, or equivalent, and is eligble for your 30 HP degree project.

This position requires that you will be approved in a security screening in accordance with the Swedish Protective Security Act.

What you will be a part of

You will collaborate with experienced engineers and professionals in an environment that fosters career development and personal growth. You will be part of X Innovation Lab at Saab Surveillance in Göteborg,  

Surveillance, a Business Area within Saab, is a world-leading supplier of systems for detection of threats and self-protection. Business Unit Radar Solutions is responsible for Radar in airborne-, surface- and naval systems.  

X Innovation Lab is a group working with new technology and new ways of working within SAAB Radar Solutions in Göteborg. We do research and create prototypes that are then used in the on-going development of SAAB's products.

Contact information 
Ted Delin, Recruiting Manager, 073-4187043

Sven Nilsson, Technical Specialist, 073-4379410

Åsa Mårtensson, HR Specialist Recruitment, +46 10 2165107

If you aspire to help create and innovate whilst developing yourself in a challenging team setting, Saab may well have the perfect conditions for you to grow. We pride ourselves on a nurturing environment, where everyone is different yet we share the same goal - to help protect people.

This position requires that you pass a security vetting based on the current regulations around/of security protection. For positions requiring security clearance additional obligations on citizenship may apply.