The Athena Advantage
Athena is the pioneer of implementing highspeed arithmetic using the Residue Number System (RNS). This complex but powerful approach allows the efficient implementation of very high performance, very high precision computational accelerators, which form the heart of each Athena IP core. Conventional arithmetic accelerators have an upper limit on usable precision because area increases to (roughly) the square of the number of bits of precision to be processed. A 20bit multiplier implemented with conventional arithmetic would be about twice the size of its 14bit counterpart (100% larger). Athena RNS technology grows as a linear function of precision, which means an Athena 20bit multiplier is much smaller than its conventional arithmetic counterpart. This area reduction translates directly into power savings, and ultimately, higher performance per unit area.
With the introduction of TeraFire®, Athena redefined ultrahigh performance digital signal processing. While leading DSP processors execute tens to hundreds of millions of multiplyaccumulates (MACs) per second, TeraFire engines are capable of sustained execution of over one trillion 16bit MACs — a huge leap forward in computational performance — without the exponential increase in power. This improved "performance density," approximately 100 billion MACs/watt, is characteristic of Athena's proprietary RNS technology.
