September 25, 2023
RISC-V Summit 2022: We Own All Your CPUs

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Inside a new guest article Legendary professor David Patterson at EE Instances wrote about breaking 5 myths round RISC-V instruction set structure (ISA). These days RISC-V Summit Calista Redmond, head of the consortium organized by RISC-V Worldwide, the consortium that manages and helps the RISC-V Instruction Set Structure (ISA), had a a lot clearer message: RISC-V is inevitable.

Actually, he mentioned, RISC-V will ultimately have one of the best CPUs, one of the best software program operating on them, and one of the best ecosystem of any microprocessor core household. These are very robust phrases for a nascent ISA that’s solely 10 years previous and competing with way more established ones. Arm and x86 ISAs. After they mentioned, “Resistance is futile,” he nearly sounded just like the Borg from Star Trek.

Calista Redmond, CEO of RISC-V Worldwide (Supply: RISC-V Worldwide)

The explanation why Redmond mentioned this RISC-V It’s inevitable that its progress and success can be constructed on the joint investments of many firms, universities and contributors. RISC-V Worldwide has greater than 3180 members. Billions of {dollars} have been invested in structure, together with nationwide packages from international locations and areas akin to India and the EU. As a result of RISC-V is scalable, customizable and modular, it may be simply optimized for various workloads and functions.

The software program ecosystem is rising and efforts are underway to make software program improvement extra environment friendly with profiles and requirements akin to a single hypervisor normal.

RISC-V origins

RISC-V is an open function like Ethernet. It was developed on the College of California, Berkeley (UC Berkeley) with a scratch-off strategy to RISC (diminished instruction set pc) designs. There have been many RISC ISAs prior to now: 29K, Alpha, Arm, i960, MIPS, PowerPC and SPARC to call a couple of. All different RISC architectures rely upon an organization proprietor and most are outdated.

Researchers at UC Berkley initially felt it was time to begin a clear slate with no firm house owners for academic use, however quickly realized that it was helpful for extra than simply academic functions.

With this strategy, a number of firms can construct CPUs utilizing the open normal. This implies there are numerous totally different choices for getting RISC-V CPUs, and extra yearly. You possibly can obtain the specs and design your personal CPU. You possibly can obtain open supply variations of RISC-V CPUs. You should buy a CPU core from a number of IP distributors. You may get a custom-made CPU core from different distributors. You should purchase a RISC-V core chiplet. You should purchase a chip with a RISC-V processor. Or you should purchase a full AI chip that works with RISC-V cores.

2726 Intel Horse Creek Verification Board (Supply: Tirias Analysis)

The instruction set itself is scalable from 32 bits to 128 bits, modular and extensible (customizable). As Patterson factors out, there’s a concern that this flexibility will result in architectural fragmentation. To fight this, RISC-V will create some normal profiles for software processors the place software program and system compatibility is necessary. RISC-V Worldwide will publish a brand new profile every year containing the important thing elements. For instance, some of the talked about extensions over the previous yr is vectors, which improves efficiency in computing and AI workloads. Even with out extensions and customization, RISC-V provides a novel enterprise mannequin and doubtlessly probably the most environment friendly RISC CPU cores.

Markets are pulling for RISC-V

One of the crucial talked about markets was automotive with auto-grade cores from Andes, MIPS, NSI-TEXE (Denso) and others. One estimate, cited by Redmond in his keynote, is that RISC-V can be in 10% of latest vehicles by 2025.

In my dialog with European IP supplier Codesipdeclare that automotive OEMs additionally love RISC-V as a result of they’ll confirm RTL code and apply formal verification strategies to the design with out having to depend on the IP provider. With extra vertical integration of designs, OEMs like to make use of customization for optimum prices, efficiency and energy.

With its customization, it is no shock that RISC-V is rising in recognition in embedded designs. Imperas is an organization that provides design validation and digital platform instruments that help customized directions throughout a number of vendor IPs.

The preliminary marketplace for RISC-V cores was deeply embedded designs at Nvidia and Western Digital. In a keynote at this yr’s occasion, Qualcomm’s Manju Varma revealed that the corporate has used RISC-V CPU cores in its chips for the reason that Snapdragon 865 and has shipped greater than 650 million RISC-V cores thus far.

One of many keynotes was from a Google government. The difficulty was porting the Android open supply mission to RISC-V. Whereas there have been earlier ports by Alibaba, this was an official Google mission. Whereas there’s good progress in operating Android on RISC-V for analysis and early improvement, Google has made it clear that it’ll require sure architectural options for a extra mainstream product. This might actually open up the RISC-V marketplace for shopper gadgets operating Android, together with smartphones.

There are merchandise from Alibaba, and Ventana for information heart functions.

Ventana Veyron V1

In presumably the most important {hardware} information on the RISC-V Summit, Ventana explained the details The brand new Veyron V1 information heart grade chip processor. That includes RAS (reliability, availability, and serviceability) operating at 3.6 GHz, this 8-width tremendous scale distinctive CPU design is designed to work head-to-head with the most recent server processors from AMD, Arm and Intel.

The chip is fabricated on TSMC’s 5 nm course of with 48 MB of L3 cache per 16 CPU clusters. By combining a number of Veyron V1 chips with a central reminiscence and I/O chip, a silicon vendor or methods firm can create a server processor with 128 CPU cores in a single slot.

The V1 chip structure is much like AMD’s EPYC processors, however Ventana differs in some key features. The chip connection to the reminiscence and I/O hub makes use of a really low latency interface referred to as “Bunch of Wires” (BoW), developed by the Open Compute Mission within the Open Area-Particular Structure (ODSA) subproject. BoW is a parallel interconnect and doesn’t use larger latency SERDERS Connections akin to AMD’s Infinity Material for changing parallel interfaces to serial present latency. Though the corporate makes use of BoW as we speak, it plans to make use of UCIe sooner or later.

The corporate will supply three enterprise fashions: normal chips with a regular third-party reminiscence and I/O hub; V1 chipsets with a devoted hub or an IP license for V1 Cores. V1 seems to be the RISC-V core that can ship spectacular instruction-per-cycle (IPC) efficiency at aggressive clock speeds.


Whereas we all know that reconfigured MIPS is adopting RISC-V for future CPU improvement, on the Summit the corporate introduced that Mobileye has adopted the eVocore P8700 for its next-generation EyeQ SoC for autonomous driving and superior driver help methods (ADAS). . Mobileye used the MIPS structure for its present merchandise. The P8700 is a multi-threaded, multi-core, multi-cluster design that scales to 64 clusters, 512 cores, and 1,024 threads. This firm believes it might obtain ASIL-D security and reliability scores for automotive functions, with built-in diagnostics and a alternative of isolation and management architectures.


SiFive CEO Patrick Little gave an replace on the corporate’s progress over the yr. The collaboration with MicroChip to win the Jet Propulsion Lab (JPL)/NASA design for next-generation space-capable computer systems, referred to as HPSC, was a major milestone. (A consultant of JPL additionally gave a speech about HPSC on the convention.)

The intention of the HPSC mission is to explain a pc with 100 occasions the efficiency of earlier area computer systems. HPSC must be based mostly on a long-lived ISA that NASA can rely on for the subsequent 10-20 years, and RISC-V is taken into account to be one such instruction set. Earlier area computer systems used PowerPC ISA.

One other milestone for SiFive was its partnership with Intel Foundry Providers (IFS) and the event of the HiFive Professional P550 chip (Intel codename “Horse Creek”) within the Intel 4 course of. The chip can be utilized in an present RISC-V improvement platform subsequent yr, however they confirmed a validation board on the convention.

Andes Mountains

One of many first CPU IP suppliers to undertake RISC-V was the Andes. The corporate is consistently constructing a set of CPU cores from the decrease finish and is now including vector extensions. Andes has introduced a brand new high-end CPU core referred to as AX65, with a 13-stage pipeline and out-of-order execution. The smaller NX45V and AX45MPV cores supply vector and scalar operation. An enormous win for the corporate is the Renesas RZ/5 MPU for automotive. Andes already provides cores that adjust to ISO26262 and ASIL-B security requirements. Whereas the corporate could not reveal all of its buyer initiatives, it mentioned it has a 5nm mission in manufacturing in 2024 with a 3nm design.


As we proceed to construct the RISC-V ecosystem, a number of audio system additionally made it clear that we have now loads of work forward. Lip-Bu Tan, Walden Worldwide’s famend investor, spoke of the necessity for added platform and system-level options, extra improvement boards, and improved software program instruments. However he additionally mentioned there’s loads of curiosity in structure from business and authorities. He famous that Walden has investments in Ventana, Akena, SiFive and Rivos. RISC-V Worldwide CTO Mark Himelstein acknowledged the challenges and mentioned software program ecosystem improvement is his #1 precedence.

TIRIAS Analysis considers this yr to be a milestone for the RISC-V instruction set, which features a important quantity of silicon and software program scheduled to reach this yr. Most start-ups, in addition to established firms like Creativeness Applied sciences and XMOS, are adopting RISC-V. Its progress in the direction of mainstream adoption appears unstoppable. Some may say inevitable.

#RISCV #Summit #CPUs

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