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Snitch meets iCE40 (1-2S/B)

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The iCE40 FPGA series from Lattice Semiconductor is enjoying great popularity in the hardware community due to their multitude of advantages:

  • extremely low power consumption
  • flexible logic architecture with up to 7680 LUTs and powerful DSP slices
  • simple footprint and only a minimal required supporting circuitry
  • low price
  • fully free and open-source tool flow (with yosys and project IceStorm)

At our Group we have developed a flexible SoC centred around a tiny RISC-V core called Snitch. So far we have only targeted Snitch SoCs to ASICs and large high-performance FPGAs. We would additionally like to explore how well systems based around Snitch map to the iCE40 family. During the project a multitude of design aspects can be explored:

  • What is the largest amount of cores we can bring on an iCE40?
  • What is the smallest iCE40 that can hold one Snitch core (and some memory to store a program)?
  • How fast can we go? What is the fastest iCE40 FPGA?
  • How much power does a Snitch system consume, what is the minimum power required, and can we compete with a microcontroller?
  • And many more!

Project Content

The project can be centred around some of the following sub tasks:

  • Familiarize yourselves with the iCE40 Family, compile a tangible map showing the FPGAs with their strengths and weaknesses
  • Familiarize yourselves with the Snitch system
  • Implement some key modules of Snitch on the iCE40 family with IceStorm or the IDE provided by Lattice and evaluate utilization, speed, and power
  • Explore extreme design points (largest system, smallest system, lowest power, fastest design, smallest footprint, …)
  • Evaluate and implement design improvements to adapt the Snitch core and/or system to better fit the iCE40 family.


  • Interest in computer architecture
  • Experience with HDLs as taught in VLSI I
  • Preferably: Previous experience with FPGAs


  • 50% exploration
  • 30% evaluation
  • 20% implementation

Project Supervisors