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Podcast: RISC-V Has Crossed the Chasm

Even a conservative company in, say, automotive, has become receptive to RISC-V, Codasip's CMO Rupert Baines tell us.
Rupert Baines
Rupert Baines, Codasip's CMO (Source: Codasip)

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By Junko Yoshida

[Editor’s note: The following story was posted before we learned that Rupert Baines abruptly resigned late last week from Codasip for family reasons. His departure has no connection to his performance or vision as CMO of the company.]

We caught up with Rupert Baines, CMO at Codasip, last month to prepare ourselves for the upcoming Embedded World, a trade fair scheduled in mid-March in Nuremburg, Germany.

Our first question: These days, aren’t “embedded” and “IoT” pretty much the same thing?

Baines demurred. He acknowledges “a big overlap” between the two, but defines embedded as “a technology” integral to building products, while IoT is “a market” for connected devices that you buy or use.

Fair enough.

The difference might get lost on consumers casually looking for newfangled gadgets, but for the professionals who build systems, technologies deeply integrated in systems –embedded processors and software – are the bedrock of their efforts to differentiate. 

During our chat, we also asked Baines what he expects to see in Nuremberg.

He’s unequivocal about the spread of RISC-V on display at the show. “Proprietary archietectures and small architectures are dwindling,” he said. Describing RISC-V as the mainstream for embedded processors, he declared, “RISC-V has crossed the chasm.”

Even a conservative company in, say, automotive, has become receptive to RISC-V, according to Baines. “When you ask, what about RISC-V, they are not going to be surprised. They’d say, ‘that’s OK. That’s interesting.’”

Why would an automotive company care about RISC-V? Baines said one auto company making its own chips has been using RISC-V for a number of years. “Others are definitely looking at it to use in their own SoCs.”

Reasons for companies to opt for RISC-V vary. Some want an alternative to Arm — to save money or maybe just as a competitive tactic to keep Arm honest, Baines explained. “Some may hold philosophical belief in open source.”

With its own RISC-V offerings, Baines stressed that Codasip wants to go a step further – pushing the advantage of what Codasip calls “custom compute.” Unique about Codasip is “how we give our customers architecture licenses, allowing them to flexibly customize” their RISC-V products.

While RISC-V has crossed the “chasm,” custom-compute lingers on the brink.

However, “for those looking for differentiation and doing something a little bit unconventional,” custom compute is on their radar, Baines explained. He predicted at least two years before custom compute goes mainstream.

Listen to our chat with Rupert Baines:

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