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The Next Front in the U.S.-China Battle Over Chips

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The Chinese Communist Party is already attempting to use RISC-Vs design architecture to undermine our export controls, Representative Raja Krishnamoorthi of Illinois, the ranking Democrat on the House select committee, said in a statement.

Last month, the House Select Committee on the Chinese Communist Party — in an effort spearheaded by Representative Mike Gallagher, Republican of Wisconsin — recommended that an interagency government committee study potential risks of RISC-V.


NASA has chosen the technology to help it land future spacecraft on unmapped planets. Meta uses the technology for artificial intelligence. Chinese engineers have turned to it to encrypt data.

And it could represent the next front in the semiconductor trade war between the United States and China.

The technology is RISC-V, pronounced "risk five." It evolved from a university computer lab in California to a foundation for myriad chips that handle computing chores. RISC-V essentially provides a kind of common language for designing processors that are found in devices like smartphones, disk drives, Wi-Fi routers and tablets.

RISC-V has ignited a new debate in Washington in recent months about how far the United States can or should go as it steadily expands restrictions on exporting technology to China that could help advance its military. That's because RISC-V, which can be downloaded from the internet for free, has become a central tool for Chinese companies and government institutions hoping to match U.S. prowess in designing semiconductors.

From The New York Times
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