A serviceman stationed in Afghanistan uses a Phraselator, a ruggedized SA-1110 Strong ARM-based PDA that translates spoken English phrases into other languages. Coalition forces in Iraq also are using the units as interrogation aids. Built with commercial hardware and voice recognition software, the PDA was first used in Bosnia in 1997, and roughly 500 Phraselators were built and delivered to military units in support of Operation Enduring Freedom after the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks. The Phraselator is being commercialized by Voxtec and was developed by Marine Acoustics, a high-technology contractor to Darpa.
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.