SAN JOSE, Calif. – China government officials kicked off a program last month that aims to define a national processor architecture. If the initiative is successful, the processor could become a requirement for use in any projects seeking government funding such as purchases of computers or smartphones.
At least five existing processor architectures are up for consideration as the basis of the standard. The initiative also could be used to define its own instruction set architecture or extend an existing one.
Officials of China’s Ministry of Industry and Information Technology hosted the first meeting of the so-called China National Instruction Set Architecture initiative in March. Representatives of about 20 China organizations attended the meeting, including communications giants Huawei and ZTE as well as a number of academic groups.
The effort is one of several led by China’s leaders in an effort to set its own standards and thus own intellectual property rather than paying for IP from foreign companies. China has already set its own standards in everything from CD/DVD players to surveillance video systems.
Wow, I really hope they do it, because we know the important thing to have in a vital, innovative, growing market is a government driven, design by committee architecture where free ideas are not tolerated.
They should push for open architectures, software and hardware alike. That's the wisest thing to do IMO. This would meet their techonolgy independence goal and ensure the necessary world-wide critical mass (hence lower cost, easier maintenance and more robustness). If they try to push for their own proprietory architectures, they will live to regret it IMO.
Arm has become the dominate CPU in smartphones and tablets. Intel and MIPS have tried very hard to replace ARM in market this and have consistently failed to do so. Why not?
With smartphones, price, speed, size, and power all enter in to the decision process. Even a 10% power difference can be a make-or-break feature for a particular brand of phone.
I'm not the designer of a smartphone, so I don't know what the magic formula is to make Arm the obvious choice. But neither is the Chinese government. Forcing the choice means forcing many phone designers to make suboptimal choices, which means the phones will not be competitive. The same is true for portable and desktop computers.
It is completely obvious to me that this is going to completely flop and a few years from now this program will be as forgotten as the Chinese LongMarch CPU, which was going to replace Intel and AMD processors.
The success or failure of a standard will depend, in part, on the motives. If it is done for protectionism it is likely to fail but if it is done to create a large single market it is likely to succeed.
Many years ago Europe looked to the advantage that the USA had with a single market and set about trying to copy it. The GSM phone standard is a good example of a common standard success story.
If I had to put money on it I would say the Chinese are more likely to succeed than fail.
The reason I believe this is 8 out of 9 Chinese government officials are Engineers.
Compare that to the USA and Europe where the bankers seem to have taken over control.
Like others have said, the Chinese government has done this sort of thing many times before. Including for their own cellular standard and their own DTV standard. Didn't they also develop the CD-V, because it was cheaper than DVD players and DVDs?
I always think about that last example, when I see the (few remaining) DVD players on store shelves going for next to nothing. CD-V is cheaper? I doubt it. May have been for the first couple of years of the DVD, maybe. Was it a smart way to go? I don't know, but I suspect it was rather counterproductive. Did the anyone in the rest of the world adopt their home-grown standards? Not that I know of.
Of course, the population of China is enormous. China and India alone, two countries out of 150+, account for 1 of every 3 people on the planet. So one might expect that they have the talent to pull these things off, no? But it probably depends on how much control the government exerts on the actual design. By which I'm saying, the more government control, the worse off they would end up.
They tried this before and it flopped then, as it will now. Politicians do need a reality filter sometimes, lest they believe their own hype, and trot out this sort of laughable Emperors Clothes.
I guess in China, no one is brave enough to say that.
This is the most efficient government I can say now. A govt planning such a massive endeavor just to keep the country growing? China owns this century because I cannot see any govt that compete with it
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.