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.
I wonder what they will pick? If it were up to me (being them) I would go for something unique and patent it so that they control their own market. I wonder if they can build the needed support for the OS, device drivers, software applications, etc. for a new architecture? Could be both exciting and scary.
The article mentions about at least 5 existing processors architectures are considered. Which are they?
I wonder the outcome of the initiative. Will there be 1 architecture for all? Or 2-3 architectures for server, workstation and mobile devices, etc.
If they select one of the existing architectures, dont they still have to pay royalty to other companies? I thought the main idea of this exercise is to stop paying the foreign companies any royalty just like TS-CDMA/Qualcomm issue.
China is only one nation which clearly knows the right areas of investments for the future. They want everything to be home grown and do not want to buy from any other nation. Will this be good sign for overall global economy or not?
I think it's an issue of shades of gray. Getting out of big royalty payments is the goal. But as the MIPS exec said they are willing to pay something for a license to an architecture they can customize and at the end of the day cut a deal that significantly lowers royalty and gives them more control.
Imposed standards can work, I suppose, but in general, the bureaucracy involved in the decision making process slows innovation. If the architecture is mandated by the central government, where's the incentive to keep improving 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.