The 1983 movie WarGames was about a seemingly harmless high school student who was able to hack into a military computer mainframe, which was wired for command and control of America's nuclear arsenal, for only one reason -- to play some online games.
At the time of its release, it seemed ludicrous that anyone could use a telephone to take control of anything connected to computers, much less ICBM silos (most of the US's nuclear warheads have since been placed on submarines, making it impossible to gain control through hacking).
Fast-forward 30 years, and that notion is no longer the case, as not only can world governments deliver collateral damage or cause disruption over an Internet connection, but they can do so with little to no cost, and without using conventional weapons.
David Patterson, known for his pioneering research that led to RAID, clusters and more, is part of a team at UC Berkeley that recently made its RISC-V processor architecture an open source hardware offering. We talk with Patterson and one of his colleagues behind the effort about the opportunities they see, what new kinds of designs they hope to enable and what it means for today’s commercial processor giants such as Intel, ARM and Imagination Technologies.