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China Mulls National CPU Architecture Spec

EE Times (04/23/12)

China’s Ministry of Industry and Information Technology recently launched a program that aims to define a national processor architecture.  If the initiative is successful, the processor could become a requirement for use in any projects seeking government funding.  Chinese government officials also recently hosted the first China National Instruction Set Architecture meeting, which is one of several efforts to set Chinese standards and establish Chinese intellectual property (IP) instead of paying for IP from foreign countries.  “I got the impression it’s a matter of months” before the processor group chooses a national standard, says MIPS Technologies’ Robert Bismuth.  Conventional ARM cores are too expensive for some China electronics companies who want lower-cost alternatives, according to an anonymous Chinese executive.  “We understand China’s initial desire to have its own [instruction set architecture (ISA)], and we continue to cooperate and discuss with the key people involved to reach a good solution,” says ARM president Tudor Brown.  The Chinese government wants “a common software ecosystem and the only way to get that is with a common ISA,” Bismuth notes.

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