Open Source ISA: RISC-V RISC-V’s momentum to accelerate in 2020

RISC-V Summit, Dezember 2019, San Jose Convention Center
RISC-V Summit, December 2019, San Jose Convention Center

It only took five years for RISC-V to gain widespread acceptance – and for developing a significant ecosystem. Microchip’s Ted Speers now expects system integrators to provide the next boost.

I was honored to be able to deliver one of the keynotes at the 2nd annual RISC-V Summit which was held the week of December 9 at the San Jose Convention center.

The keynote was titled »Open For Business: True Stories About How Far We’ve Come With the RISC-V Ecosystem.« I talked about the key role Microchip Technology’s FPGA business played in taking the ecosystem from non-existent to one that is ready for widespread adoption in just five short years.

Against this backdrop of an open for business eco-system, semiconductor giants Samsung and Qualcomm both unveiled some of their plans to adopt RISC-V on a significant scale. We at Microchip announced the opening of the early access program for the PolarFire SoC FPGA family, featuring a hardened RISC-V processor sub-system embedded in our low-power, highly reliable and secure PolarFire FPGA fabric. None of this would be possible without the growing RISC-V ecosystem.

In the last five years, we at Microchip have not been in the business of predicting the future of RISC-V. Rather, we along with many others have been creating the future of RISC-V in order to get the eco-system to the point that it is at today. The near future we need to create together in 2020 is to ramp up investment in software development. We’ve laid the foundation with Linux and a broad offering of commercial and open source RTOS’s and now need to build out full stacks of solutions for multiple domains starting with IOT and Linux platforms.

This will be a large undertaking. In addition to the large semiconductor companies that are already contributing to this endeavor, we need the large system integrators to contribute because, in many ways, they will be the main beneficiaries of the innovation the RISC-V is unleashing as developers look for power and cost efficiencies in response to new approaches to computing driven by IoT, AI, 5G, automotive, and the data center.

To that end, many of the leading companies in all domains, are already starting to create strategies to leverage RISC-V to solve the problems they and their customers are facing as we enter the new golden age of computer architecture. If you are a CTO at one of these large companies, I can almost guarantee that RISC-V has a role to play in your future. If you don’t have a RISC-V strategy, please reach out to anyone in the RISC-V Foundation leadership to learn how RISC-V can help and come join the effort. We need you.

I described the future we need to create so I guess that means I expect to see leading system integrators begin to articulate their RISC-V strategies and start contributing to the next layer of build-out software stacks in multiple domains. Of course, much of this effort will leverage the release of tools, silicon and boards for products like PolarFire SoC FPGAs. If you’d like to learn more about how the RISC-V ecosystem is growing, we produced this short video with some of the companies we work with as part of my keynote. Click here:


The Author

Ted Speers

is a Technical Fellow at Microchip Technology and Head of Product Architecture and Planning for their FPGA Business Unit.  He also serves on the Board of Directors of the RISC-V Foundation.