Perfect measurements are limited to counting. The number of people in your office can be measured exactly. Your weight cannot. There is always another decimal point of accuracy.
You might argue, “What if the scale says my weight is exactly 150 pounds and it really is?” Yes, I’d counter, it could happen, but there's no way for you to know if it did happen because there are no perfect scales.
Measurement precision is the root of chaos, the reason that predictions of nonlinear systems like weather, economies, the result of climbing sea levels, the final position of a gas molecule after escaping a popped balloon, even consciousness itself, are one step beyond predictable.
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.