Instruction Sets Should Be Free: The Case For RISC-V

Krste Asanović and David A. Patterson

EECS Department
University of California, Berkeley
Technical Report No. UCB/EECS-2014-146
August 6, 2014

http://www.eecs.berkeley.edu/Pubs/TechRpts/2014/EECS-2014-146.pdf

The increasing popularity of systems on a chip, where processors are just a small fraction of the design, calls into question why one of the most important interfaces is proprietary. We argue that:

* There is no good technical reason not to have free, open instruction sets just as we have free, open networking standards and free, open operating systems.

* The most likely first targets for a free, open instruction set are systems on a chip for the Internet of Things, which have low cost and power demands, and for Warehouse Scale Computers, which could benefit from viable alternatives to the 80x86 instruction set

* The best architectural style for a free, open instruction set is RISC.

* Given the time it takes to design an instruction set, it makes more sense to adopt an existing RISC free, open instruction set than to design a new one from scratch.

* Among the existing RISC free, open instruction sets, RISC-V is the best and safest choice.


BibTeX citation:

@techreport{Asanović:EECS-2014-146,
    Author = {Asanović, Krste and Patterson, David A.},
    Title = {Instruction Sets Should Be Free: The Case For RISC-V},
    Institution = {EECS Department, University of California, Berkeley},
    Year = {2014},
    Month = {Aug},
    URL = {http://www.eecs.berkeley.edu/Pubs/TechRpts/2014/EECS-2014-146.html},
    Number = {UCB/EECS-2014-146},
    Abstract = {The increasing popularity of systems on a chip, where processors are just a small fraction of the design, calls into question why one of the most important interfaces is proprietary. We argue that:
<p>
* There is no good technical reason not to have free, open instruction sets just as we have free, open networking standards and free, open operating systems.
<p>
* The most likely first targets for a free, open instruction set are systems on a chip for the Internet of Things, which have low cost and power demands,  and for Warehouse Scale Computers, which could benefit from viable alternatives to the 80x86 instruction set
<p>
* The best architectural style for a free, open instruction set is RISC.
<p> 
* Given the time it takes to design an instruction set, it makes more sense to adopt an existing RISC free, open instruction set than to design a new one from scratch.
<p>
* Among the existing RISC free, open instruction sets, RISC-V is the best and safest choice.}
}

EndNote citation:

%0 Report
%A Asanović, Krste
%A Patterson, David A.
%T Instruction Sets Should Be Free: The Case For RISC-V
%I EECS Department, University of California, Berkeley
%D 2014
%8 August 6
%@ UCB/EECS-2014-146
%U http://www.eecs.berkeley.edu/Pubs/TechRpts/2014/EECS-2014-146.html
%F Asanović:EECS-2014-146