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Why RISC-V Matters

Updated: Dec 23, 2023


Abstract


Reduced Instruction Set Computer- V (RISC-V), pronounced as ‘risk-five’ is an open-source chip architecture famous for its low power consumption, flexibility, and openness, three of the most important aspect when it comes to developing cores and chipsets mainly in the FPGA and ASIC market, two of the major verticals that have high powered applications that can compute a wide array of data that can be deployed across domains. The policy brief digs deep into how the RISC V International Association, the apex governing body of RISC V ISA has assured that the open-source ISA stays aloof of the great power rivalry and considering its wider acceptance by industry leaders, it assesses the growing potential of RISC V as vendors in chip designing vertical are considering this open source ISA as an alternate to legacy ARM and x86.


Introduction


The semiconductor chips are considered the meta-technology on which advanced technologies such as artificial intelligence (AI), quantum computing, advanced IoT etc. are developed and deployed. The Instruction Set Architecture (ISA) forms a significant part of the semiconductor value chain as it creates the platforms on which the silicon designs are deployed. The ISA are protected through a patented intellectual property license accorded to the developer of the architecture. Currently, the accessibility to this intellectual property of ISA is heavily securitized both by the makers of these IPs as well as the nation from which the makers belong. 



Why RISC-V Matters from the Geostrata

Cover by The Geostrata


Contrary to this growing IP protectionism in ISA domain, Reduced Instruction Set Computer- V (RISC-V), pronounced as ‘risk-five’ is an open-source chip architecture famous for its low power consumption, flexibility, and openness, three of the most important aspect when it comes to developing cores and chipsets mainly in the FPGA and ASIC market, two of the major verticals that have high powered applications that can compute a wide array of data that can be deployed across domains. 


Other than the flexibility of RISC-V relative to legacy IP-protected ISAs such as Softbank-owned ARM and Intel’s x86, the geopolitical position that RISC-V International Association, the governing body of RISC-V as well as the proprietary ISA providers play a significant role in the semiconductor supply chain resilience debate. All major ISA providers, be it open-source or licensed, claim to take a politically neutral stance. However, the governance structure of these organizations are better variable to assess the political neutrality of these organizations. 


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For all official and academic purposes, use the following as a citation, which follows the Chicago Manual Style.


Nisarg Jani, and Anusha Shrivastava. “Why RISC-V Matters.” THE GEOSTRATA,




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BY NISARG JANI AND ANUSHA SHRIVASTAVA

SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY CENTRE, TEAM GEOSTRATA

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