April 8, 2024

Exciting Embedded World News (And More)

COM-HPCInteredgeMember NewsModBlox7Open Standards

More than 45 PICMG members will be exhibiting at Embedded World 2024. For the first time at the world’s largest trade fair dedicated to embedded technology, PICMG is the subject of two technical conference tracks. We’ll be hosting a 30th Anniversary Reception on Wednesday, April 10th, that’s open to all PICMG members as well as the press; we expect more than 150 attendees.

There is a lot of excitement around PICMG at Embedded World 2024, but those activities don’t even mention all the PICMG-related news released ahead of and during the show. From exciting industry partnerships to new branding, here are some of highlights from the PICMG news releases you’ll see around Embedded World 2024.

  • PICMG Celebrates Its 30th Anniversary—To celebrate this milestone, PICMG is rolling out all new branding, with new logos for all related specifications, in Hall 5, booth 5-342 at this year’s Embedded World in Nuremberg.
  • PICMG, OPAF Partnership to Advance Open Process Control Technology—The partnership fills a gap in edge controller hardware that exists in the O-PAS™ Standard—an open architectural framework for developing industrial process automation systems, currently being defined by OPAF initiatives.
  • PICMG ModBlox7 Specification To Be Showcased at 2024 Embedded World—In support of the ModBlox7 ratification, one of PICMG’s newest specifications, multiple members are collectively showcasing their newest products based on the spec at the 2024 Embedded World exhibition.
  • PICMG Announces Release of InterEdge Standard for Open, Modular Process Control Systems—The IEC 61499 and IEC 61131-compatible InterEdge specification promises to revolutionize the industry with an interoperable, multi-vendor alternative to proprietary Industrial PCs (IPCs), Programmable Logic Controllers (PLCs), and Distributed Control Systems (DCSs).
  • PICMG Bolsters New COM-HPC “Mini” Form Factor with Release of Carrier Design Guide Revision 2.2—This comprehensive document contains interface schematics, diagrams, design rules and requirements, and more for PCB layout engineers and hardware developers looking to create application-specific carrier boards that pair with COM-HPC modules.
  • TO COME! An Announcement from PICMG and the DMTF!

The Show(s) Must Go On

We’re only through the first quarter of 2024 and we’ve seen two new specification families introduced, multiple new specifications released, a call for participation on a new version of a familiar technology (AdvancedTCA), strengthened partnerships with multiple standards organizations, and more.

Later this month PICMG will be sponsoring the IEEE Real-Time Conference (RTC) in Vietnam, which serves as rallying point for a critical emerging deep tech economy ( We will act as an umbrella for multiple members who develop and deliver products into this sector, and also participate in a Women in Engineering (WiE) event (

Later this year we will visit Embedded World North America in Austin, the MicroTCA Summit in Hamburg, and many more in-person and virtual events in between. Right now is one of the more exciting times in PICMG’s 30-year history, and I feel fortunate to be part of it.

(Editor’s note: If you’d like to attend the 30th Anniversary Reception and have yet to receive an invite or RSVP, contact [email protected], [email protected], or [email protected] to get on the list or schedule a meeting).

February 29, 2024

Decades of Contribution, Immeasurable Impact

COM ExpressCOM-HPCJess IsquithKontronPICMG

This year PICMG celebrates thirty years of developing open computing specifications. And despite three decades of open hardware specs that are used by thousands of companies and countless engineers worldwide, the organization is still largely an unknown—even in our own industry.

But from behind the scenes, PICMG is responsible for billions of dollars of business. It has reduced time to market in virtually every electronics-driven industry. It has empowered companies to innovate by adopting off-the-shelf technologies, giving them space to focus on their core competencies. It has built markets based on coopetition, where companies collaboratively develop open, interoperable specifications then go toe-to-toe once they are ratified.

Even less recognized are the individuals who donate hundreds if not thousands of hours to the creation of PICMG specifications. These engineers are rarely acknowledged for their contributions. They are truly unsung heroes, and PICMG specifications wouldn’t exist without them.

One of these unsung heroes is Stefan Milnor, who recently retired from his role as VP of Engineering at Kontron. In parallel, he stepped down as the long-time editor of COM Express and COM-HPC specifications. 

Stefan has been involved in PICMG since the beginnings of COM Express, which is undeniably the most successful computer-on-module in a billion-dollar COMs market. As editor, Stefan incorporated input from numerous technical subcommittees over the years and implemented it into specifications that have been adopted by thousands of organizations building embedded systems. It’s a difficult job that requires a rare mix of technical acumen and attention to detail, and his skill and efficiency will be missed by us all—including some who never knew he was the hand behind their downloaded spec.

Stefan has always been a very private individual. In fact, by the time we could reach out to him for comment he had already left. In some ways, it’s a fitting conclusion for someone who performed yeoman’s work for decades without reward. And although he probably isn’t reading this, his contributions to PICMG and the embedded computing industry deserve to be acknowledged.

Thank you, Stefan, for helping make PICMG what it is today: 30 years strong and counting.

— Jessica Isquith, President, PICMG

Admin Note: Contact Doug Sandy, PICMG CTO, at [email protected] to learn how you can get involved in PICMG’s technical working groups. Contact me, [email protected] if you are interested in joining PICMG or have any questions about our organization.

February 29, 2024

Members Only Series: Jens Hagemayer of Bielefeld University and the COM-HPC plus CXL Opportunity

COM-HPCOpen StandardsPICMGSlider

The Members Only interview series highlights leaders from within PICMG and throughout the open standards development community. We recognize their contributions and seek insight into their thought processes and strategies driving open technology-powered industries forward.

This issue we introduce Jens Hagemayer, a research associate at the Bielefeld University. Jens and his team have been intimately involved in the development of COM-HPC since its inception, championing the use of heterogeneous modules designed around FPGAs. Now they are investigating ways that Compute Express Link (CXL) specifications can take COM-HPC into new use cases.

PICMG: Can you describe your work outside of PICMG as well as the role you played in development of the COM-HPC specification? 

JENS: I am currently engaged in research at Bielefeld University, focusing on the development of heterogeneous and reconfigurable computing technologies for a wide range of applications. These include the Internet of Things (IoT), edge computing, cloud computing, and high-performance computing (HPC).

My involvement with the early stages of the COM-HPC specification centered on leading the development of the Platform Management Interface Specification and expanding the Embedded EEPROM Specification for COM-HPC. 

PICMG: You recently raised awareness about the CXL standard within the COM-HPC community. What is CXL and why is it relevant for PICMG COM-HPC developers and users?

JENS: CXL, or Compute Express Link, is a high-speed, high-capacity interconnect standard that facilitates efficient communication between CPUs, memory, and peripherals using the PCIe physical layer. Its support for cache coherency, disaggregation, and scalable architectures makes it a compelling choice for modular form factors like COM-HPC, driving its popularity among developers and users seeking advanced computing solutions.

PICMG: Why is CXL 3.1 significant in the context of COM-HPC? What use cases or capabilities will it drive in the COM-HPC ecosystem?

JENS: CXL introduces features that cater to the demanding requirements of cloud and high-performance computing systems. Its emphasis on scalable architectures, disaggregation, and cache coherency is particularly relevant for COM-HPC, offering the potential to revolutionize the way modular computing platforms are designed and utilized. 

The integration of CXL into COM-HPC could facilitate the development of more sophisticated computing solutions, enabling the seamless coupling of specialized accelerators and the establishment of cache-coherent multi-socket systems. These advancements promise to unlock new possibilities for COM-HPC applications, ranging from data-intensive analytics to AI and machine learning workloads, driving innovation in modular computing technologies.

PICMG: Given that CXL targets PCIe, has it been compatible with COM-HPC to date?

JENS: The relationship between CXL and COM-HPC is fundamentally influenced by CXL’s reliance on the PCIe physical layer for connectivity. This means that while direct compatibility between previous versions of CXL and COM-HPC has not been explicitly defined, the architectural underpinnings allow for potential integration. 

The absence of CXL in the current COM-HPC specification, coupled with the lack of support in existing modules, suggests that the integration of CXL represents a forward-looking opportunity for enhancing COM-HPC. Such integration is anticipated to require minimal modifications to the specification, paving the way for future advancements in modular computing.

PICMG: What does the COM-HPC community need to know about the CXL market or technical requirements to capitalize on the opportunity?

JENS: To fully leverage the potential that CXL brings to the COM-HPC community, it is crucial to understand the intricacies of CXL’s market dynamics and technical specifications. This involves a deep dive into the architecture of CXL, including its device types—such as Type 1 for I/O devices, Type 2 for cache-coherent devices, and Type 3 for memory expander devices. Additionally, understanding the topology options that CXL supports, including switch-based topologies for larger, more complex systems, can empower developers to design COM-HPC solutions that are both innovative and future-proof. 

Staying abreast of the evolving CXL specifications and market trends will enable the COM-HPC community to identify new opportunities for integration and application, ensuring that COM-HPC modules remain at the forefront of technological advancement.

PICMG: What are you and Bielefeld University doing with respect to CXL today?

JENS: We are working on integrating CXL within the RISC-V ecosystem, a venture that holds promising implications for the future of computing architectures. Our work focuses on the development of innovative bridge technologies that facilitate communication between the RISC-V Coherent Hub Interface (CHI) and CXL, using FPGA-based modules, which we refer to as microservers. 

This endeavor is not just about bridging two technical standards; it’s about creating a foundation for next-generation computing platforms that can seamlessly integrate diverse processing and memory resources. By developing these bridges, we aim to enable more efficient, scalable, and flexible computing architectures that can cater to the demanding requirements of modern applications, ranging from AI and machine learning to big data analytics.

PICMG: Where can interested parties go to find more information on CXL?

JENS: The CXL Consortium website serves as the primary repository of knowledge. This platform not only provides access to the official CXL specifications and technical documents, but also offers insights into the latest developments, industry adoption stories, and educational resources.

More Information:
• Compute Express Link:
•*PICMG COM-HPC Overview:
•*PICMG Platform Management Interface Specification: