back to article RISC-V Xmas gifts: SiFive emits vector-enabled cores, Western Digital teases new SweRVs, VxWorks hugs ISA, Samsung rolls it into 5G...

The RISC-V Summit kicks off in Silicon Valley today, and there were a few interesting announcements this morning. SiFive SiFive is now willing to license RISC-V cores that support the open-source ISA specification's still-in-draft vector extension instructions. These software-generated cores, dubbed the SiFive Intelligence …

  1. Norman Nescio

    WD State-machine replacement?

    Much as I like the ideas behind RISC-V, I'm not sure Western Digital's statement:

    <quote>"...designed to replace sequential logic and state machines in controller system-on-chips."</quote>

    fills me with enthusiasm. Replacing a state machine with a general purpose (Turing complete) cpu can have some nasty consequences. State machines can relatively easily be formally proven to behave correctly, whereas it is more difficult with general purpose cpus. Of course, using a firmware/general-purpose cpu combo means you can fix bugs, and provide new!, improved!, functionality, by loading an updated firmware*, whereas a state machine embodied in silico doesn't have that option. The general purpose cpu provides more flexibility for the manufacturer, which can be a good thing. Of course, in principle, if you as the purchaser of the storage device, are allowed access to modify the firmware yourself, that could be beneficial, but I suspect my sideline as an ice-skate vendor in Hell will become profitable way before then.

    *The new!, improved! functionality can include behaviour not anticipated by the 'owner' of the storage device in question, such as ransomware, and information exfiltration.

    1. Caver_Dave

      Re: WD State-machine replacement?

      Yes, it is more difficult to prove firmware, but see the Wind River announcement supporting this device. They have certified software to all the major standards. Avionics (DO-178C), Automotive (ISO 26262), Industrial (IEC 61508), Medical (IEC 62304), TUV 800, and many, many more.

      1. sw guy

        Re: WD State-machine replacement?

        Yes, but certified ≠ proved

  2. hammarbtyp Silver badge

    Well its nice to see Windriver branching out. Unfortunately when they were owned by Intel, they only seemed interested in Intel x86 architecture so they supported things like ARM and other platforms poorly. However it is clear that Intel have given up in the embedded space, so it left Windriver with no where to go

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