Using Open Source Designs to Create More Specialized Chips


Collaborating on freely available code enables companies and programmers to pool resources to solve common problems and avoid reinventing the wheel. Companies build competing products and services from these open source foundations that they might never have been able to build otherwise.

But the open source revolution has been slow to come to the hardware world. A number of open source gadgets and circuit boards have been released in recent years, but while it’s possible to run a laptop or server on nothing but open source software, the inner workings of our gadgets remain proprietary.

An open source chip architecture called RISC-V could soon help change that. Chip maker Nvidia and storage company Western Digital have both announced plans to use RISC-V chips in their core products, …

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