At this year’s RISC-V World Conference China, a team of more than two dozen students and professors from the Chinese Academy of Science (CAS) have unveiled the XiangShan processor that promises big performance gains over current RISC-V options.

The XiangShan project logo

XiangShan has been developed as an open source project with a BSD-like Mulan PSL v2 license. Since its inception in June of 2021 contributors have submitted more than 50,000 lines of code and published 400 documents.

One of the more interesting features of XiangShan is that its code is written in the Chisel hardware description language. Its creators say that resulted in a codebase that’s 1/5 the size it would be if it had been written in the older Verilog language.

That lines up with what a DARPA spokesperson said about Chisel back in 2018 when the Electronics Resurgence Initiative was launched.

The first XiangShan prototype will be an 8-core chip clocked somewhere around 1.3Ghz fabricated using TSMC’s 28nm process. It’s due to be taped out by the end of this month.

Its successor has already been planned. The CAS team hopes to have this new chip — which will utilize China-based SMIC’s 14nm process and hit clock speeds around 2Ghz — will be ready for tape-out by the end of this year.

Future iterations, CNX Software reports, should rival ARM’s Cortex-A76 processor in terms of performance.

There’s a long way to go, of course, before that goal is realized. It’s also not totally clear whether the XiangShan processor will be commercialized, though the Chinese government has been actively seeking alternatives to x86 and ARM for quite some time.

The XiangShan team also sees the processor as “milestone event in the field of Chinese chips and even the world’s chips,” adding that the open source chip could revolutionize “the field of information infrastructure.”

Ominously, the CAS’s Bao Yungang adds “any blocking this change, especially the United States, will become the biggest victim in this blocking process.”

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  1. 90% of American IP is developed by foreign nationals from china & Europe so if America wants to boast about its up first it should stop all foreign national comming to usa then say American ip.

  2. This is Yungang Bao, the person mentioned in the last paragraph. I’m shocked to see the words I never said: “any blocking this change, especially the United States, will become the biggest victim in this blocking process.”

    I click this link and found that the last paragraphs attributed to me are totally fake! I’m really shocked by this post. https://inf.news/en/tech/77fbdf5d678f77164ce24475f197bb02.html

  3. I get so tired of hearing menacing comments from a country that doesn’t respect IP rights.

    1. 90% of American IP is developed by foreign nationals from china & Europe so if America wants to boast about its up first it should stop all foreign national comming to usa then say American ip.

  4. Just the thing for running smart meters, washing machines, dryers, vending machines, microwaves, security cameras, cash machines, electric tills, parking meters etc.

  5. I notice that the Mulan PSL v2 license automatically grants a Patent to the creator. I wonder what implication this has on it’s degree of “open-sourceness”.

    I’m not enough of a open-source expert to know what the full implication is.