Wednesday, April 10, 2019


RISC-V is an exciting new microprocessor ISA (instruction set architecture).  In the last 30 years several proprietary ISAs have tried to dislodge x86 as the defacto processor standard with varying degrees of success.  ARM, MIPS, PowerPC, PA-RISC, SPARC, Itanium to name a few.  ARM has come closest to dominating the embedded space, but seems to have stalled lately.  But these are all proprietary which has something to do with the acceptance as a standard for the lowest level computer language.  Who wants to depend on a language owned by somebody else ?

A few years ago OpenRISC entered the market, but it's ecosystem and architecture are limited, largely due to the limited resources of the authors.  Enter RISC-V.  This architecture is very clean, well designed, open, and originally out of Berkeley.  This architecture is tracking to do for microprocessor architectures, what Linux did for Unix Server Operating Systems.

This architecture is going to win because it:
  • Has a very clean well designed extendable ISA
  • Easily emulates on x86 (is little endian)
  • Completely open royalty free, with mechanisms for proprietary extensions
  • High performance free simulators already available
  • Huge list of technology companies already endorsing this architecture
  • Real silicon designs available today ready to be customized as desired.
Very cool.  This will open new frontiers in machine languages as well once it is not owned by some for profit company.

Monday, April 1, 2019

Drones and Terrorism

Drones will largely solve terrorism.

If you're a member of an old school hard religion that believes in chopping off the heads of anyone that says something you don't like you might want to rethink your life choices. 

It is only a matter of a few years at most when the military will have the capability to release a swarm of smart drones with AI vision technology that can seek out and kill anyone they have a picture of.  Smart phones have had the ability to do speech recognition for a while now.  Vision or image processing in a small bird sized drone is the logical next step in AI technology and there is no technical reason preventing this from happening very soon.

So... if you are a member of an extreme terrorist organization it may be time to cut your losses and figure out how to live in the new world.  Change is hard, but it is time to change or die.  Sometimes great grandpa is wrong.  Dinosaurs did exist and the world is more than 2000 years old.