back to article China's road to homegrown chip glory looks to be going for a RISC-V future

China's been scammed for billions by rogues in its chase to become a chip powerhouse, though ironically, a free, open-source CPU architecture is emerging as its best bet to create a powerful homegrown chip. China was a winner at this week's RISC-V Summit, with many organizations introducing CPUs based on RISC-V, an open-source …

  1. steviebuk Silver badge

    Question is

    Who did they steal the tech off of?

    1. AndyFl

      Re: Question is

      Why did they have to steal it off anyone? Plenty of very capable engineers in China.

      The basic RISC-V instruction set has been defined for a while, latest designs are just evolutions of it.

      I really like the idea of open sourced processor architectures, unencumbered by patents, which are not under the control of the likes of Intel.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Question is

      Actually, designing chips is a lot easier than manufacturing them... Remind me how many chips the US manufactures again?

      1. A Non e-mouse Silver badge
        Thumb Up

        Re: Question is

        Actually, designing chips is a lot easier than manufacturing them

        Just ask Sophie Wilson & Steve Furber.

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Question is

        Even back-in-my Uni days (Late '80s) a good 20% of the electronic engineering class were Hong Kong Chinese.

    3. IGotOut Silver badge

      Re: Question is

      15 years ago my ex graduated from Warwick Uni.

      At the graduation ceremony about 90% of the Maths & Physics phds went to Chinese students.

      And you think they stole the designs?

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Question is

        What do you want to be when you grow up?

        US: YouTuber/Twitch streamer

        China: Scientist

        1. cyberdemon Silver badge
          Holmes

          Re: Question is

          Spiritual Opium indeed!

          Over here, our teenagers spend all their time watching utter shite on YouTube/TikTok/Twitch/etc while in China they are studying quantum electrodynamics because they already learnt vector calculus and classical mechanics in primary school.

          And what can they do with quantum electrodynamics? Design sub-5nm transistors of course.

        2. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Question is

          Plenty of kids in China try the get-rich-quick streamer dream too.

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: Question is

            How do you know?

            Whilst it is a meme, the idea of Asian parents forcing their kids to be Ling Lings (in academia as well as music) is kinda well known.

            Even if you just use raw numbers then China has 3 times the pop of the US. Given equal opportunities then even if you assume that the % of kids that want to be scientists/engineers to be the same in both countries then the US will be at a huge disadvantage. Now consider the next up and coming country is India with an even larger pop than China!

            1. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

              Re: Question is

              But the USA can solve that by cutting math classes until all students are equal.

              Don't worry this doesn't apply to private schools so we can rely on children of rich parents all becoming engineers

              1. Version 1.0 Silver badge

                FTFY

                ... so we can rely on children of rich parents all employing engineers

                1. Chris G Silver badge

                  Re: FTFY

                  "... so we can rely on children of rich parents all employing engineers from China"

                  Now it's fixed!

            2. Alan Brown Silver badge

              Re: Question is

              the difference is that the "get rich quick" Chinese streamers tend to also have pretty good academic qualifications (even the e-girls, etc). What you find is that they see streaming as a way of letting off steam which happens to pay well

          2. Tom 7 Silver badge

            Re: Question is

            Perhaps but they more than enough extremely good engineers who are more than capable of developing their own tech. Unless of course it involves rounded corners...

        3. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Question is

          Yup

          If I say I'm a computer specialist in western countries (particularly Britain/USA) then I'm a scummy prole, far beneath the likes of those who are famous for being famous

          If I say I'm a computer specialist in asian ones, I'm a near instant local celebrity (which comes with its own sets of problems)

    4. Lars Silver badge
      Happy

      Re: Question is

      RISC-V is an open standard instruction set architecture (ISA) based on established reduced instruction set computer (RISC) principles. Unlike most other ISA designs, the RISC-V ISA is provided under open source licenses that do not require fees to use. A number of companies are offering or have announced RISC-V hardware, open source operating systems with RISC-V support are available and the instruction set is supported in several popular software toolchains.

      https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/RISC-V

      Designer University of California, Berkeley

  2. Zenubi

    Nanhu Nanhu

  3. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    "Arm is more like a Switzerland of the semiconductor world with its neutral stance."

    Is that good enough? The US have shown they're very much able to strong-arm Switzerland when it suits their needs.

    1. Alan Brown Silver badge

      No it isn't and the USA has already been able to bring threats to bear against Softbank regarding designs which may be of use to the chinese military

      https://www.akingump.com/en/news-insights/reminder-regarding-the-jurisdictional-reach-and-limits-of-us-export-control-sanctions-and-foreign-investment-regulations.html

  4. Sparkus

    The melding of RICS-V and MIPS is 'interesting'

    As MIPS-based CPUs are still at the core of most Cisco network gear.

  5. Alan Brown Silver badge

    Arm undesireability

    Arm is hobbled by being subjected to American ITAR orders already thanks to foundries being hit with sanction threats

    Acquisition by Nvidia it would be a death blow for its acceptability.

    The fact that the first thing Nividia did after acquiring Cumulus Linux was to strip out support for competitor's switching chips after giving assurances that they were committed to opensource showed their true attitude to the ecosystem

    Nobody trusts them. People aren't so much abandoning ARM as running screaming for the hills due to the risk that Nvidia would either pull all existing/new ARM licensing, or jack up the fees by some order of magnitude (Can you say RamBus?)

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