Intel & RISC-V Collaborate on Pathfinder for RISC-V

By Chad Cox

Associate Editor

Embedded Computing Design

September 01, 2022


Intel & RISC-V Collaborate on Pathfinder for RISC-V

Intel and the RISC-V Foundation have collaborated on an initiative to further expedite the expansion of RISC-V architecture with the launch of the Intel® Pathfinder for RISC-V, a pre-silicon developer environment equipped with RISC-V cores, a set of IPs, and various operating systems and toolchains.

Designed to ease the expansion of SOC architecture for individuals and commercial developers, the new Intel Pathfinder for RISC-V provides all of these tools for use on FPGA and simulator platforms. The operating systems and toolchains also have the capability to run within cohesive IDE and FPGA platforms. The Intel Pathfinder for RISC-V supplies these features for flawless scaling at no cost, saving time that would be otherwise spent assembling and testing different IP resources.

Released in two versions, the Starter Edition is available for free download after registration and intended for academic and hobby use. The Professional Edition enables extensive ecosystem control while targeting groups interested in industrial RISC-V-based silicon and software.   

The new ecosystem (Intel Pathfinder for RISC-V) is moving operating systems and toolchains into the next generation.

The open-source, standards-based approach of Intel Pathfinder for RISC-V also includes collaborators such as Imperas Software LTD, AWS, and Crypto Quantique.

Imperas worked with Intel’s Pathfinder for RISC-V to design a fixed platform kit with an integrated reference model and simulator, available in the environment's Professional Edition. The Imperas simulator works cohesively with other EDA environments — such as SystemC and SystemVerilog — with tools from Cadence, Siemens EDA, and Synopsys, in addition to the cloud-based contribution from Metrics Technologies.

Imperas has a library of over 350 processor and virtual platforms combined with an added 250 peripheral elements that are available at With the ability to modify and configure the library as necessary for specific platform requirements, the Imperas Fixed Platform Kits (FPK) deliver ready-to-use platform models with no need for licensing and installation.

“The adoption of RISC-V is at an inflexion point across multiple markets and applications, and Intel fully appreciates that a healthy software ecosystem is critical for this new ISA to be successful,” said Vijay Krishnan, Intel's General Manager of RISC-V. “The availability of Imperas RISC-V reference models for the Professional Edition of Intel Pathfinder for RISC-V further strengthens the tools available to developers as new silicon designs move from concept to production.”

For those interested in getting started with the Pathfinder development environment:

  1. Register on Intel Website
  2. Download and install Intel Pathfinder
  3. Develop and test software
  4. Get help on the Community Forum

Optional support for advanced users to test their code on a FPGA development board is also available.