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8 November, 2019 - 13:05 By Tony Quested

Serial dontrepeneur takes chair at lowRISC CIC

Serial dontrepreneur Andy Hopper, who has the Midas touch with Cambridge technology businesses, has become independent chair at open source software gazelle lowRISC CIC.

The company spun out of the university’s Computer Lab which Professor Hopper has run for many years with distinction and received unspecified funding from US tech giant Google in May.

Hopper himself is one of the world’s most successful academic entrepreneurs: From Cambridge he has co-founded 13 spin-outs and start-ups, three of which have subsequently been taken public. 

In recent years, the companies he helped create have received five Queen’s Awards for Enterprise.

Professor Hopper said: “As digital systems pervade every aspect of our lives trust and transparency become crucial. An open source approach allows for public inspection of the principles and implementations being used.

“I believe the future of digital systems will be underpinned by not for profit organisations that provide design transparency and enable real innovation. I am putting all my weight behind lowRISC because it is an indispensable component of our digital world.”

Professor Hopper, Treasurer and Vice-President of the Royal Society and Professor of Computer Technology at the University of Cambridge, is a pivotal figure in the UK technology scene. 

He was the research director of Acorn Computers from 1979-85, during which period the pioneering ARM RISC processor was developed, and headed up the world-renowned Cambridge University Computer Lab between 2004 and 2018.

The lowRISC board says it looks forward to working with Professor Hopper to grow its engineering and executive team, deepen its relationships with new and existing partners like Google, and maximise the positive global impact of open source silicon design in a variety of high value target applications.

Since 2018 the business has focussed on collaborative engineering on active open source silicon projects with multiple partners and on supporting and stewarding open source compiler infrastructure and tools.

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

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