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.
While I can understand why China prefers independence, to jump ahead they need more than an ISA, the latter almost being irrelevant today because of the heavy software layers.
What they need is the whole eco-system of associated EDA tools (generate ISA from specs), software development tools (compiler, simulator, RTOS, ...) and programming models. In the end, the determining factor will be fast they can crank out new applications, migrate to the next semicon technology at lowest power consumption and highest performance. I will take years before all that is in place.
Don't they already have their own CPU architecture - the Longmarch CPUs? This was a copy of the MIPS ISA. This is also apparently what they use in their supercomputers. They will soon realize that defining an ISA is the easy part. Getting folks to design and implement competitive CPUs around that ISA and the ecosystem around it is what makes an ISA succesful.
How about the OpenSparc architecture that was made open source by Sun? Apparently you can download the RTL for free. China likes free.
I would think the available tool chain would be a strong influencing factor. It's hard to make a new hardware architecture. But it's probably harder to make a decent optimizing C compiler (and related tools) for it. An architecture with an existing and mature GCC implementation would make a lot of sense.
Didn't Bloomberg speculate about a week ago that MIPS was for sale?
China, with its bags of cash, could simply pick that one up (watch the USG try to block the sale) and own the IP as well as any existing licenses.
I do not blame them, just by looking the history ,if some companies are extremely monopolistic and greedy e.g. Microsoft, and now Apple...and asking to much for their goods, services, they direct calling a competitor to destroy their hegemony e.g. AT+T and the ip phones. And to note something to one previous comment:"Remember how successful DoD was in mandating use of ADA? This too will implode. No worries man." The marketplace ultimately rules." 1) China is not the US, 2)China is the largest market with the size of it's middle class which is = the size of the whole US population,3) it is not impossible that they will learn from the mistakes happened elsewhere -e.g.US - and make a better system.