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Will risc-v get stuck? Do you think C language will be blocked? |Bao Yungang

2020-12-08 10:24:36 osc_ kf7nv2km

source :  Voice of the storm

This paper is about the problem of knowing 《 From a technical point of view ,RISC-V Can develop the chip 、 What role does technological autonomy play ?》 Answer

(https://www.zhihu.com/question/425542531/answer/1607862976).

One 、 About RISC-V Some interpretations of

See a lot of answers are very good , Some of the answers also cite some of the readings we've written before . Here I recommend you to read this article 《 About RISC-V And open source processors 》 About RISC-V And open source processors About RISC-V And open source processors ):

This paper discusses the instruction set of processor 、 Concepts such as micro architecture implementation and open source model, and RISC-V And so on . Here are a few key points :

  • Instruction set specification (Specification) And processor implementation (Implementation) It's two different levels of concepts , Segregation . Instruction set (ISA) It's a standard , A book or several pieces of paper are often used to record and describe , The processor implementation is based on the instruction set specification .RISC-V Is an instruction set specification .

  • We can base it on x86/ARM/ RISC-V Instruction set , Design and implement the processor architecture to form the source code , And finally form the chip product through the tape . Among them, the instruction set specification and the intellectual property rights of processor implementation are independent , Don't confuse .( See the second part of the original text for details 、 three links )

  • "RISC-V It's open source. " Indicates that the instruction set specification is open source 、 Open and free (open and free), This is related to x86 And ARM Instruction sets are essentially different , But it's not that specific processor implementations are open source and free .

  • be based on RISC-V Instruction set specification , The open source community can develop a free version of the open source processor implementation ( Such as Berkeley Developed Rocket Nuclear etc ), There can also be a commercial company to develop a licensed version of the processor implementation ( For example, black iron with flat head in China 910、 Xinlai N200 Core and Yousi Weihe River WH-32 Nuclear etc ).( See Section 3 of the original text for details )

As a summary of the above , It is highly recommended to study the following table carefully ( For a detailed explanation, please refer to section 3 of the original text ):

chart 1. Instruction set 、 Analysis of the relationship between microarchitecture design and products

A little bit more , Say the important thing three times :

Instruction set specification (Specification) And the processor (Implementation) It's two different levels of concepts !
Instruction set specification (Specification) And the processor (Implementation) It's two different levels of concepts !
Instruction set specification (Specification) And the processor (Implementation) It's two different levels of concepts !

You can do a few judgment questions to see if you understand the above concepts :

  • X86 Is an instruction set specification ?

  • Apple M1 Cattle are because of the use of ARM Instruction set ?

  • There is still a gap between domestic processor and foreign processor ?

  • A new instruction set can be defined in a few months ?

  • It is not easy to implement a processor according to the instruction set specification ?

  • Given an instruction set, there is only one processor implementation ?

  • You can change an instruction set for a processor implementation ?

answer :Yes、No、Yes、Yes、Yes、No、Yes

On the last question , Say a few more words. . When you have the processor implementation capability , It's easy to change the instruction set . For example, Loongson has been able to change from MIPS Switch to custom LoongArch Instruction set . therefore , The core competitiveness in the field of processor chip is the ability of processor design and implementation .

The importance of instruction set is reflected in ecological construction . The instruction set carries the whole software ecology upward , Next, the whole hardware ecology represented by processor chip is standardized . Defining a new instruction set itself is not difficult , But what's more important is how to attract the whole industry and even the whole world to work together to build ecology , This requires an open and shared philosophy as the foundation . This leads to the next topic —— Why does it show up RISC-V? Why? RISC-V Can get so much attention around the world ?

Two 、 Why does it show up RISC-V

After understanding the difference between instruction set specification and processor implementation , Let's go back and see why RISC-V. From the picture 2 It can be seen that , There are open standards in different areas , And the corresponding open source implementation and commercial implementation . For example, the operating system has open POSIX Syscall standard , be based on POSIX standard , There are open source Linux、FreeBSD, There are also closed source commercial Windows.

TCP/IP、POSIX、C、SQL、OpenGL When these standards are open 、 Shared . Any company in the world 、 Any University 、 Anyone can design their own operating system based on these open standards 、 compiler 、 network switch 、 Database etc. , You don't have to get someone's authorization , There's no need to pay for these standards .

And in the processor world , The story is different . The instruction set specification has always been / Standards are owned by the company , There is no standard for open sharing free , So for a long time, it has formed the impression that the standard and implementation of instruction set of processor are mixed together . and RISC-V It's just filling in this blank ( chart 2 The red question mark grid in the table )—— Provides an open 、 Free processor instruction set . This is also RISC-V The slogan when it was born ——“Instruction Sets Want to be Free!”

chart 2. There are open standards in different fields , And the corresponding open source implementation and commercial implementation . And in the processor world , The instruction set specification has always been / Standards are owned by the company , There are no open standards

Few people ask “ operating system Syscall Will standards get stuck ”、“C Will language grammar get stuck ”、“SQL Will language standards get stuck ”, Because you understand the difference between standards and implementations in these areas . And for the processor instruction set , It will take a little time to change our traditional ideas and understanding .

About RISC-V The origin and idea of , Recommended reading Krste Asanovic and David Patterson stay 2014 year 8 An opinion article published in May .2015 year 2 Of the month 《 Communication of China computer society 》 The full text of the article was published in Chinese 《 The command system should be free :RISC-V The case of 》.

chart 3. RISC-V Chinese version of opinion articles

3、 ... and 、RISC-V Potential risk points of

(1) The ecology is not mature enough , May bring investment risk

RISC-V There has been... Since its birth 10 year , Got a lot of attention . however ,10 Year old RISC-V It's also a platform period , Lack of iconic event presentation RISC-V The upper limit of the ability . There are many reasons for this , One of the important reasons is that instruction set standardization has been relatively slow in the past few years , Need to speed up .

We can compare this round of deep learning boom ,Hinton stay 2006 In published Science The paper , It didn't get attention , Until 2012 year ImageNet It is only after winning the championship that the academic circles pay attention to it The real tipping point is 2016 year AlphaGo Defeat Li Shishi , Show the world the upper limit of deep learning ability . And this kind of breakthrough of Cheng Bei type still appears constantly , For example, some time ago 1700 Billion parameter GPT-3 Model , These two days DeepMind Of AlphaFold Successful analysis of complex protein structure , These are constantly showing the world AI The upper limit of ability , Give confidence to the whole field .

RISC-V Where is the upper limit of the ability of ? in general ,RISC-V Or lack of image “AlphaGo Defeat Li Shishi ” Such benchmarking progress . Although many people are optimistic about RISC-V stay IoT Applications in the field , but IoT Because the scene is so fragmented , It's hard to create benchmarking events at the technical level ( Of course, if there is a case of hundreds of millions of dollars in business , It can also be used as a benchmark event ). Here we mainly comb from the technical level RISC-V Three possible benchmarking events in the field :

  1. use RISC-V Developing a supercomputer , Get into Top500 The top ten , Even higher ranking ( Now Europe has launched EPI project , use RV do E A supercomputer );

  2. use RISC-V Do server chip , In some head enterprises get scale application , And the effect is better ;

  3. use RISC-V Make a mobile phone chip , Solve the ecological problems of mobile phones , To achieve the delivery volume of millions or even tens of millions .

because RISC-V Openness , Therefore, there are many forces all over the world to actively promote these three aspects , There is competition . but It is this kind of competition that needs to exist in the process of ecological construction , It's normal 、 reasonable , We should also encourage , as David Patterson The professor mentioned in an interview that :

“ because RISC-V Is open , We're going to see all this competition . Maybe because of all the competition , We're starting to see some really interesting innovative ideas in design .”

in fact ,Linux In fact, there is a stage of competing for the best in the process of development , This can be reflected from one side . for example 2000 About years ago , only Intel I invested 6 individual Linux Start-up company :

  • 1998 year :Red Hat、VA Linux Sytems

  • 1999 year :eSoft、SuSE

  • 2000 year :TurboLinux

  • 2002 year :Scali

therefore , From an ecological perspective , It should be nice to see more forces involved in RISC-V From the competition and cooperation of , Especially the power from China .

(2) Intellectual property protection at the processor implementation level

RISC-V As an instruction set specification is open and free , It doesn't belong to any company .RISC-V The definition of the instruction set specification is jointly managed and maintained by the international foundation . however , be based on RISC-V The concrete implementation of instruction set , You can apply for a patent . It's more like 5G field ,3GPP Defined 5G Standard specifications are shared by all members , Each member can have its own concrete implementation , And apply for their own patents , Mutual Authorization . Now there are open source 5G Realization , such as OpenRAN.

Again , Instruction set specification and processor implementation are independent 、 Different levels of concepts . therefore , Processor implementation level patents are instruction set independent , In other words, the technology protected by a patent ( For example, a new branch prediction technique ) Can be used in Intel Of X86 In the processor , It can also be used with self-defined LoongArch In Godson processor , It can also be used to adopt ARM In Apple processor .

therefore , There may be business disputes in the future , It will be a patent on the processor implementation level , Not the instruction set itself . in fact , Even if you completely define a new instruction set , If you don't do a good job in patent evasion at the processor design level , There is still the risk of intellectual property litigation . In fact, it is quite normal for commercial disputes to occur in the process of industrial development , We need to improve our own strength 、 Strengthen the protection of intellectual property rights to deal with .

So how do we deal with ? In China 5G The development ideas of the field have good reference significance .5G Standards are set by the whole world , Some are proposed by Chinese enterprises , Some of them are put forward by foreign enterprises , But China didn't because of 5G Part of the standard is that the United States gives up participation when it comes up with it 5G. contrary , Huawei 、 ZTE and other enterprises are more actively involved in standard setting , Invest more actively in R & D technology 、 Patent application , Thus in 5G In terms of patents, it is in the leading position in the world .

For the construction and development of processor Ecology , We can also uphold and 5G Same idea . In the framework of open sharing , We can increase our voice by improving our ability , Improve your autonomy .

Four 、 A little thought : How to deal with the relationship between openness and autonomy ?

(1) Two things about “ Openness and autonomy ” News of relationships

The state is formulating the fourteenth five year plan and 2035 Vision target , At the same time, it is actively promoting some international cooperation frameworks , such as RCEP. Judging from the speeches made by the national high-level officials on many occasions , It's about emphasizing We should improve our autonomy in an open environment . Let's start with two news :

  • 2020 year 11 month 3 Yesterday's 《 About < The Central Committee of the Communist Party of China has made the 14th five year plan for national economic and social development 〇 Suggestions for the long-term goal of three to five years > Explanation 》 There are five principles mentioned in , The third is the relationship between openness and autonomy :

One is to deal with the relationship between inheritance and innovation , do “ two centenary goals ” The goal of struggle is organically linked .
The second is to deal with the relationship between the government and the market , Give full play to China's institutional advantages .
Third, we should handle the relationship between openness and autonomy , We should better coordinate the overall situation at home and abroad .
Fourth, we should handle the relationship between development and security , Effectively prevent and deal with the systematic risks that may affect the modernization process .
Fifth, we should deal with the relationship between strategy and tactics , Set a vision 、 Practical and effective planning suggestions .



  • 2020 year 11 month 19 Japan , The APEC Business Leaders' dialogue further pointed out that , Opening up is the premise of national progress , Closure inevitably leads to backwardness . China has long been deeply integrated with the world economy and the international system . We will never go back to history , Will not seek “ Decoupling ” Or closed and exclusive “ A small circle ”.

At the national level , On the one hand, we need autonomy , On the other hand, we hope to open up , Do not seek “ Decoupling ”、 Don't be closed and exclusive “ A small circle ”. So for These two seemingly contradictory goals , How can we co-ordinate ? How can we not engage in closed exclusive “ A small circle ” At the same time , It can also achieve the effect of autonomy ?

(2) There are two ways to achieve autonomy

For autonomy , Many people in China think that they should set up another set of their own , It should be completely decoupled from the United States , It's a way of thinking . Many domestic industries support the integration into the international open competition environment , Strive for dominance in an open framework , This is another way of thinking . In the current China , Both ideas have successful cases : Beidou belongs to the first way of thinking ,5G It belongs to the second way of thinking .

Specific to instruction set , Which way of thinking should be adopted ? Because everyone collects and obtains information 、 The understanding of the law of the development of things is not the same , So different people have different judgments , Make different decisions , Choose different ideas , This is a very normal phenomenon . According to the current situation in China , There will be two ideas coexisting for a period of time , For example, Loongson is trying to push LoongArch The construction of instruction set Ecology ( The first way of thinking ), A lot of companies are involved in RISC-V The ecological instruction set of development ( The second way of thinking ).

The second way of thinking is sometimes questioned ( Including the question from Zhihu ), The main reason is that we don't understand the instruction set specification and the concept of processor implementation . One thing to be sure of is , The ultimate goal of both approaches is to improve the autonomy of processor ecology , They all hope to make China develop better .

(3) Drink from the past and resist the present , Review the entrepreneurial history of China's computer industry

Share some historical materials in the preparation process of the Institute of computing, Chinese Academy of Sciences , To revisit 1950 How did the pioneers of China's computer industry deal with “ Copy ” And “ innovation ” This pair of contradictions . In conclusion , Two decisions :

  1. Copy first, then innovate , Imitation is for innovation .

  2. Copy in China , Instead of sending people to the Soviet Union to copy .

It can be said that the pioneer of China's computer industry We have taken into account the discipline foundation of China at that time 、 Long term goals 、 Cost and other factors , Made a very pragmatic decision , China's computer industry has achieved a breakthrough from zero to one . in my opinion , The decision-making ideas and ideas of the older generation of pioneers , For today's China how to deal with processor chip neck problem , It still has important reference significance .

chart 4. source : Doctoral Dissertation 《“ Take the task as the subject ” Research on the establishment and early development of the Institute of computing technology, Chinese Academy of Sciences 》p45

chart 5. source : Doctoral Dissertation 《“ Take the task as the subject ” Research on the establishment and early development of the Institute of computing technology, Chinese Academy of Sciences 》p46

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