PICMG® Committee to Develop Open Specification to Implement Server-Level Capabilities for Edge Computing

New effort will provide module level, high performance server computing technologies


  • New Computer-On-Module open specification for high-performance edge computing
  • Support for high speed interfaces: PCIe Gen 4/5, 100 Gb Ethernet
  • Complement to, not replacement for, COM Express®

Wakefield, MA, PICMG, a consortium focused on collaborative development of open specifications, recently formed the COM-HPC technical subcommittee. It is actively developing a new COM (Computer-On-Module) specification to meet the increasing requirements of edge computing applications. PICMG’s COM Express® has been adopted worldwide, meets the needs of most of today’s applications, and is anticipated to grow and thrive over the next decade.

According to multiple research reports, the computer-on-module (COM) market is expanding rapidly and is expected to reach over USD 1 billion by 2022. The technical requirements to bring server-level computing to the edge have driven the need to create new open specifications to complement COM Express. PICMG members have long been at the forefront of designing and supplying edge computing solutions and are collaborating to meet the requirements of applications well into the future.

The new COM specification under development is in parallel to existing COM Express efforts. This effort is intended to complement rather than be a replacement for COM Express The subcommittee will develop a next-generation COM standard and an accompanying Carrier Design Guide. The new specification is expected to support two different module types: one for high-performance computing, the other for embedded computing. Initial plans include incorporating a new high-speed connector able to support existing and future interfaces such as PCI Express Gen 5, and 100/200 Gb Ethernet. The specification will target medium to high-performance server-class processors.

Key COM-HPC Goals:

  • Support for PCIe Gen 5.0 (32 Gb/s)
  • 64 PCIe Lanes
  • Min. 25 Gb Ethernet per signal pair to support 100 Gb Ethernet
  • Update of other interfaces to latest technology levels

The goal is to have specifications ratified in early 2020. The team has elected Christian Eder of congatec as committee chair. Kontron’s Stefan Milnor is the technical editor and Dylan Lang of Samtec is the secretary.

“COM-HPC will become a very high performance module specification,” said committee chair Christian Eder. “It is not a replacement for COM Express; it extends the computer modules to a completely new level. It will serve as a transition from Computer-On-Module to Server-On-Module.”

So far, this initiative includes twenty active member participating companies: ADLINK, Advantech, Amphenol, Bielefeld University, congatec, Elma, Emerson, ept, FASTWEL, HEITEC, Intel, Kontron, MEN Mikro, MSC Technologies, N.A.T., Samtec, SECO, TE Connectivity, Trenz Electronic and VersaLogic.

To learn more about the specification and to participate in its development, please email [email protected].