A designer knows he has achieved perfection not when there is nothing left to add, but when there is nothing left to take away.
RISC-V is taking over the universe. Perhaps. Well it’s going into space, at least, as part of a new NASA probe. It’s also coming to your laptop, your server and maybe your iPhone.
RISC-V is built on a number of ideas. That a single instruction set can be used in machines with widely differing capabilities. That an instruction set can be shared between many different companies. The idea of an ‘Open Source’ instruction set. And finally the concept of the Reduced Instruction Set Computer (RISC) itself.
The RISC idea has now been around for around fifty years and it’s been the subject of debate and a degree of controversy for much of that period. We can eavesdrop on the debate as far back as 1986 via an episode of The Computer Chronicles. David Patterson, one of the developers of RISC-V, and already a professor at University of California at Berkeley, is quizzed by Gary Kildall, creator of the CP/M operating system.
(As an aside, the idea that Instruction Set Architectures could be the subject of informed debate on a TV show is just a little jaw dropping.)