LeapFive Technology Launches NB2:
a flagship multi-core heterogeneity RISC-V SoC chip and Circuit Board
On August 16, 2022, LeapFive Technology hold a new product launch and media communication conference with the theme of “LeapFive Technology’s intelligent IIoT chip, empowering dual-carbon and new infrastructure” in Shenzhen Bay Innovation and Release Center. At this conference, LeapFive officially launches NB2, as the first RISC-V SoC chip, and supporting board products targeting high-end industrial applications.
As a flagship product of LeapFive, NB2 is the first mass-produced RISC-V-based industrial-grade SoC chip within the sector. It is an important step for LeapFive to accelerate the “IoT core ecology”.
NB2 Products Series
The conference invited Mr. Pu Tianjiao, director of the Department of Artificial Intelligence Applications at China Electric Power Research Institute Co., Ltd., Dr. Wang Jinfan, founder of Linkinsence, an industry leader in intelligent operation of the new logistics industry, Mr. Yao Guofeng, Senior Expert of Energy Internet Technology Research Institute of China Electric Power Research Institute, Mr. Xu Gang, co-founder and CTO of aitos.io, who focuses on trusted authentication and data privacy protection, as well as many other industry experts and scholars to join. They shared how LeapFive Technology’s NB2 chip empowered power edge intelligence, smart logistics, dual-carbon applications and data security to the industry media and guests.
Media and Guests
Dr. Aglaia Kong, CEO of LeapFive Technology, mentioned in her opening speech: in the big environment of “de-globalization”, “chip shortage”, and “Sino-US trade war”, there are many opportunities, such as AI, which is getting better and better, we are still heading to the metaverse, and there will be many new opportunities. However, we all face a huge challenge, which is global warming. In recent years, global warming has become the focus of attention of various countries. In China, the proposal of “carbon peaking” by 2030 and “carbon neutrality” by 2060 demonstrates the responsibility of a major country and accelerates the development of green technology, green industry, and green life for the whole society. From an international perspective, green development has become the consensus of various countries in the world. “So, we think a lot about chip innovation: first, because we are serving dual carbon, we must consider low-power chips; second, because it is a platform around dual-carbon, our data must be safe, traceable, and non-tamperable during the process; most importantly, because of de-globalization, we also need to ensure the supply chain, and the chips must be based on a controllable and autonomous platform, so we think RISC-V, an open instruction set architecture, is a great choice. ” Dr. Aglaia Kong said.
Dr. Kong is talking about dual carbon and the challenges and opportunities of global change
In the context of dual carbon, the green revolution of energy interconnection has a strong demand for IT infrastructure, especially autonomous controllable edge intelligent processor chips. RISC-V can meet the needs of the era of “demand-defined software, software-defined hardware”, and is gradually showing broad prospects in power edge intelligent applications.
Video conference with Mr. Pu
Mr. Pu Tianjiao, director of the Artificial Intelligence Application Research Institute of China Electric Power Research Institute Co., Ltd. and secretary-general of the Artificial Intelligence Special Committee of the Chinese Society of Electrical Engineering, mentioned in his speech that the current development of the power IoT has the following common problems : the pressure of data transmission and processing is high, the computing load of the cloud master station is heavy, the value of massive data cannot be tapped, and the supply of chips is difficult. Therefore, new requirements are put forward for intelligent high computing power, low power consumption, and autonomous control at the power edge. Based on this, edge computing is an important solution. The power edge intelligent chip is the key to realize edge intelligent computing. From the previous research and analysis, we chose the technical route of main control + AI accelerator and adopted the RISC-V open instruction set architecture, which is in line with the independent and controllable development trend of State Grid Corporation. LeapFive Technology’s NB2 has obvious advantages in terms of process, temperature, computing power, etc. Therefore, in view of the technical advantages of the NB2, China Electric Power Research Institute and LeapFive Technology signed a strategic cooperation agreement and settled in the State Grid Corporation’s Innovation and Entrepreneurship Demonstration Center, committed to jointly promoting the specification customization, collaborative R&D, and achievement of the edge smart chip of the power IoT.
The highlight of the conference – the launch of NB2 chip. Yuan Bohu, VP of LeapFive Technology, introduced to all the visiting media and guests at the venue. He said that in the current RISC-V chip market, more than 95% of the chips are concentrated at the MCU level. There are about 500 MCU-level products with computing power below 200MHz, and less than 10 models in the mid-range 200MHz to 1.5GHz range.
Mr. Yuan introducing NB2
“Now, we hardly see high-end level (above 1.5GHz) products, the main reason is that application-level software systems are not well developed yet in fields such as RISC-V, which forces many manufacturers to use RISC-V technology entered the chip products, they were all doing simple control-level chips, and the homogeneity was very serious. However, based on our understanding of chip products and the current development status of RISC-V, we chose the IIoT.”
Also, Mr. Yuan mentioned that in the product direction, LeapFive chose edge computing SoCs, and RISC-V is only a part of the SoC system, not the whole. LeapFive is focus on the value brought by the entire SoC system to the applications. LeapFive hopes to provide full-stack software support for all applications, and through its efforts, to bring some differentiated value to system applications. Also, LeapFive hopes to return and reflect the value of data under the condition of IoT data fragmentation, and better provide solutions for smart energy, smart logistics, smart manufacturing, smart cities, etc. in the future.
The NB2 chip includes a 4-core 1.8GHz RISC-V CPU with a computing power of over 32,000 DMIPS, the GPU clocked at 850MHz, the NPU clocked at 1.4GHz, and the VPU supports 4K@60fps encoding and decoding. NB2 adopts 12nm advanced technology, focusing on the energy efficiency balance between low power consumption and high-speed data processing, and hopes to build a RISC-V application platform for multi-scenario in IIoT.
Applications of NB2
Regarding the application of NB2 in intelligent logistics and warehousing, Wang Jinfan, founder of Linkinsence, CEO of Acecamel, professor at Southern University of Science and Technology, and researcher of Peng Cheng Laboratory, said: “Now we require logistics must realize digital operations and intelligent decision-making. Therefore, there are high requirements for computing power, especially for edge computing, so we need to be able to complete such computing tasks and intelligent decision-making on the edge side, to adapt to the needs of logistics applications more “faster”.” In the RISC-V related intelligent logistics solutions of Linkinsence, whether it is the intelligent gateway on the edge of the container logistics or the intelligent sorting terminal in the intelligent cargo hold, NB2 is deeply integrated with the application of intelligent logistics. As an important part of the new digital infrastructure, the intelligence of logistics will conform to the general trend of intelligent, low-carbon and environmental protection in the whole industry.
Regarding the application of NB2 in buildings and parks in smart cities, Mr. Yao Guofeng, a technical expert from the Energy Internet Technology Research Institute of China Electric Power Research Institute, mentioned that many domestic mainstream home appliances have been implanted with our blockchain modules when they leave the factory. With this module and the cooperation with LeapFive Technology, electrical appliances can be connected to the power grid company cloud through the home appliance cloud, and then participate in the power regulation of the entire power grid without affecting the users’ usage. For example, in summer, smart appliances can remind users to turn on the air conditioner in advance or participate in flexible load regulation. With these, more than 100 million household air conditioners can be gradually connected to the interactive platform of the power grid through the mode of stock + increment. Finally, combined with the relevant policies of the government and the power grid, to promote energy conservation, carbon reduction and consumption reduction in areas such as smart buildings and smart parks.
In terms of data security (confidential computing), blockchain and other applications, LeapFive’s strategic partner, aitos.io, has developed a confidential computing board in cooperation with LeapFive Technology. The granularity of this board is much smaller than a complete server, so it can provide a confidential computing environment with high sensitivity and isolation for edge computing. Through the deep utilization of various security capabilities of NB2, such as the chip’s security key, unique chip identification, secure boot, trusted execution environment and other key security mechanisms. “Using these mechanisms, we have run a secure environment on it, which is the foundation of confidential computing. In this environment, we have achieved the ability to provide confidential computing services to customers. We need to thanks to the powerful processing power of NB2 to supporting our confidential computing applications, with 4 cores and 1.8GHz, and the great applicability of NB2 for computing tasks.” said Xu Gang, co-founder and CTO of aitos.io.
If we say that the former RISC-V was questioned by the industry in terms of cost, ecology, security etc., but everyone see that Chinese power is making breakthroughs and forging ahead in this field. Through this conference, we saw that the RISC-V “Intelligent IIoT core” ecology is growing rapidly. As a high-end RISC-V chip, NB2 will surely help dual carbon and new infrastructure, and empowering more applications.