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Semiconductor Engineering Article: The Other Side Of Makimoto’s Wave

By March 6, 2019May 12th, 2021No Comments

Custom hardware is undergoing a huge resurgence across a variety of new applications, pushing the semiconductor industry to the other side of Makimoto’s Wave.
Tsugio Makimoto, the technologist who identified the chip industry’s 10-year cyclical swings between standardization and customization, predicted there always will be room in ASICs for general-purpose processors. But it’s becoming more difficult to rely on off-the-shelf processing elements as the benefits of Moore’s Law diminishing at each new node. This is particularly true for a variety of new application areas, where there are more and different types of data to process.
This is giving new instruction set architectures such as RISC-V an edge due to its open-source nature, Maciàn said. “The fact that it is license-free, and because it is open-source, it has enabled engineering teams to develop their own instruction set extensions—and in particular for AI, being able to operate on vectors and matrixes. That is a huge advantage. That is the best that you can accomplish with a general-purpose processor, which is why RISC-V is also very popular in that space.”
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