History of the new US-China technology battlefield, RISC-V “Risk Five”

TIME.CO, Jakarta – In a in front of new technological war United States of America – China President Joe Biden’s administration is facing pressure from some lawmakers to restrict American companies working on chip technology that is freely available and widely used in China or China. It’s a move that could change how the global tech industry collaborates. crossing the border.

At issue is RISC-V, which is pronounced “risk five.” It is an open source technology that competes with expensive proprietary technology from British semiconductor and software design company Arm Holdings (O9Ty.F). RISC-V, cited by Reuters, can be used as the main material for everything from smartphone chips to advanced processors for artificial intelligence.

Several lawmakers — including two Republican House committee chairmen, Republican Senator Marco Rubio and Democratic Senator Mark Warner — have urged the Biden administration to take action on RISC-V, citing national security.

Lawmakers have expressed concern that Beijing is exploiting a culture of open collaboration among American companies to advance its semiconductor industry, which could erode the current U.S. lead in chips and help China modernize its its armed forces. Their comments represent the first major effort to limit U.S. companies’ work on RISC-V.

Rep. Mike Gallagher, chairman of the House Select Committee on China, said in a statement to Reuters that the Commerce Department must “require any American person or company to receive an export permit before engaging with a PRC entity (People’s Republic of China) on this matter.” RISC-V technology.”

The call to regulate RISC-V is the latest in a dispute between the United States and China over chip technology that intensified last year with broad export restrictions. The Biden administration has told China it will renew it this month.

“The CCP (Chinese Communist Party) is abusing RISC-V to circumvent U.S. dominance of the intellectual property needed to design chips. The U.S. public should not support the PRC’s technology transfer strategy that serves to undermine U.S. export control,” said Congressman Michael. McCaul, chairman of the DPR’s foreign affairs committee, said in a statement to Reuters.

McCaul said he wants action from the Bureau of Industry and Security, the part of the Commerce Department that oversees export control regulations, and that he will implement the legislation if that doesn’t happen.

The office “continually reviews the technology landscape and threat environment and continues to evaluate how best to implement our export control policies to protect national security and safeguard key technologies,” a spokesperson said in a statement of the Department of Commerce.

“Communist China is developing an open source chip architecture to circumvent our sanctions and develop its chip industry,” Rubio said in a statement to Reuters. “If we don’t expand export controls to cover this threat, China will one day overtake us as the global leader in chip design.”

“I fear that our export control laws are not up to the challenge of open source software – whether in advanced semiconductor designs like RISC-V or in the field of artificial intelligence – and that a dramatic paradigm shift is needed” , Warner said. in a statement to Reuters.

RISC-V is overseen by a Switzerland-based nonprofit foundation that coordinates efforts by nonprofit companies to develop the technology.

RISC-V technology originated in a lab at the University of California, Berkeley, and later received funding from the Pentagon’s Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA). Its creators compare it to Ethernet, USB and even the Internet, which are freely available and leverage contributions from around the world to make innovation faster and cheaper.


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Huawei technology

Chinese executives at Huawei Technologies have made RISC-V a pillar of the country’s progress in developing its own chips. But the United States and its allies have also jumped on the technology bandwagon, with chip giant Qualcomm (QCOM.O) teaming up with a group of European auto companies on RISC-V chips and Alphabet’s Google saying it will make Android, the most popular phone. operating system, running on RISC-V chip.

Qualcomm declined to comment. Its executives said in August that they believed RISC-V would accelerate chip innovation and transform the technology industry.

Google did not respond to a request for comment.

If the Biden administration regulates U.S. companies’ participation in the Swiss foundation in line with lawmakers’ wishes, the move could complicate cooperation between American and Chinese companies on open technical standards. It could also create hurdles for China’s efforts to achieve chip self-sufficiency, as well as efforts by the United States and Europe to create cheaper and more versatile chips.

Jack Kang, vice president of business development at SiFive, a Santa Clara, Calif.-based startup that uses RISC-V, said potential U.S. government restrictions on American companies regarding RISC-V would be “an incredible tragedy “.

“It’s like banning us from working on the Internet,” Kang said. “This would be a huge mistake in terms of technology, leadership, innovation, companies and jobs that are created.”

Regulating open discussions about technology is less common than regulating physical products, but not impossible, said Kevin Wolf, an export control lawyer at the law firm Akin Gump who served at the Commerce Department under former president. Barack Obama. Existing regulations on chip exports could help provide a legal framework for such proposals, Wolf said.

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