Tuesday, March 08, 2011

RISC versus CISC, Who is #Winning?

As you may know, I have a soft spot for technology history. I loved going to HotChips and hearing all the old bearded geeks debate CPU architectures, and why x86 often wins despite its warts.

I was delighted to find this couple of blog posts by UC Berkeley Computer Science professor David Patterson, one of the giants of computer architecture (and founding member of the RISC Fan Club):

  1. RISC versus CISC Wars in the PrePC and PC Eras - Part 1
  2. RISC versus CISC Wars in the PostPC Eras - Part 2 - ARM Community

If RISC and CISC start to look more like one another as they steal good ideas from each other, the architecture won't determine the "winner". Rather, it will hinge on other vital issues such as process technology (Intel wins) and openness (ARM, MIPS lead here).

Finally, if I may add a sophomoric comment, doesn't Prof. Patterson's mug shot remind you of Patrick Stewart (Captain Picard)?


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