By Jim Turley, in EE Journal
It will require a great deal more than a letter of appeal to achieve conversion.”
Fredrik Bajer (1837–1922)
You could see them coming a mile off. Two nice young men, riding bicycles. They wore pressed white shirts and black ties when they came to my door and asked if I’d heard The Good News. If not, they’d be happy to sit with me and explain the error of my ways.
I was skeptical at first, but their words touched me. Now I’m a convert. I may not be a zealous evangelist – not yet, anyway – but I’ve lost my initial agnostic skepticism and I’m willing to listen to a few verses from the hymnal. Yes, I’ve seen the RISC-V light.
Chief protagonist in my conversion was the high priest of microprocessor design himself, Dave Ditzel. If you’re not a dyed-in-the-wool CPU nerd, Ditzel’s name may not ring any church bells, but among the ISA cognoscenti, he’s kind of a big deal. The man was vice president of Intel’s Hybrid Parallel Computing division, CTO at Sun Microsystems, got his Master’s Degree at Berkeley under Dr. David Patterson (who co-wrote the book on RISC architecture), and was founder and CEO of Transmeta, the company that designed an entire x86-compatible processor that ran code under emulation. In short, the man knows his 1’s and 0’s.