ZURICH, Dec. 2, 2021 — RISC-V International, a global open hardware standards organization, today announced that RISC-V members have ratified 15 new specifications – representing more than 40 extensions – for the free and open RISC-V instruction set architecture (ISA). Most notably, RISC-V members ratified the Vector, Scalar Cryptography, and Hypervisor specifications which will help unlock new opportunities for developers creating RISC-V applications for artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML), the Internet of Things (IoT), connected and autonomous cars, data centers, and beyond.
“In 2021, RISC-V International made huge leaps in our technical progress as we ratified 15 specifications that are critical for the future of computing,” said Krste Asanović, Chair of the RISC-V International Board of Directors. “The development of these specifications really showcased the incredible benefits of open collaboration across companies and geographies as members worked together to develop novel approaches for the latest computing requirements.”
The RISC-V Vector specification will help accelerate the computation of data intensive operations like ML inference for audio, vision, and voice processing. With RISC-V Vector, developers can process complex data arrays and scalar operations quickly and with low latency. The simplicity and flexibility of Vector allows companies to easily customize RISC-V solutions for a wide variety of edge computing applications from consumer IoT devices to industrial ML applications.
“The new RISC-V Vector specification will change the way people think about vector designs,” said Dave Ditzel, Founder and Executive Chairman of Esperanto Technologies. “With just over 100 instructions, the extension offers a simple and elegant approach to efficiently process the latest machine learning algorithms.”
The RISC-V Hypervisor specification virtualizes supervisor-level architecture to efficiently host guest operating systems atop a type-1 or type-2 hypervisor. Virtual machine implementations require the RISC-V Hypervisor specification. The Hypervisor specification will help drive RISC-V adoption in cloud and embedded applications where virtualization is critical, such as in data centers, automotive applications, and industrial control applications. The RISC-V community has ported KVM and other open source Virtual Machines on top of simulators using the new specification.
Mark Himelstein, CTO of RISC-V International, said: “RISC-V has immense potential for the data center thanks to its flexibility, scalability, and extensibility. The new RISC-V Hypervisor specification is a key piece in accelerating the adoption of RISC-V in data center and desktop environments enabling virtualization capabilities.”
The RISC-V Scalar Cryptography specification enables the acceleration of cryptographic workloads for small footprint deployments. These extensions significantly lower the barrier to entry for secure and efficient accelerated cryptography in IoT and embedded devices.
“The RISC-V Scalar Cryptography extensions allow for implementing standard cryptographic hash and block cipher algorithms that are an order of magnitude faster than using standard instructions in some cases. With RISC-V’s transparent and open approach, anyone can efficiently implement critical cryptographic algorithms in any class of CPU,” said Ben Marshall, Cryptographic Hardware Engineer at PQShield and member of the RISC-V Technical Steering Committee. “In addition to the performance benefits, these new extensions are very cheap to implement so companies can integrate popular cryptography algorithms in even the smallest connected devices.”
About RISC-V International
RISC-V is a free and open ISA enabling a new era of processor innovation through open standard collaboration. RISC-V International comprises more than 2,400 members building the first open, collaborative community of software and hardware innovators powering an open era of processor innovation. The RISC-V ISA delivers a new level of free, extensible software and modular hardware, paving the way for the next 50 years of open computing design freedom and innovation.
RISC-V International, a non-profit organization controlled by its members, directs the future development and drives the adoption of the RISC-V ISA. Members of RISC-V International have access to and participate in the development of the RISC-V ISA specifications and related ecosystem. To learn more about RISC-V, please visit: www.riscv.org.