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It includes a very small number of basic operations and corresponding opcodes. Commonly these are categorized as MISC if they are stack based rather than register based, but can also be defined by the number of instructions fewer than 32 but greater than one. Quite a few of the first computers can be classified as MISC. This describes an abstract machine that uses only one instruction. It removes the necessity for a machine language opcode.
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This has not been commercialized, as far as I know, but it is very popular for teaching computer science. This leads down a few paths, some can get into all the nitty gritty details of each instruction set and their differences.
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It goes over the pros and cons of a lot of prior instruction sets, why the authors decided to create a new instruction set, and what lessons they learned and brought over from their knowledge of the past. I will summarize what I thought was interesting but I urge you to dig in for yourself and read the entire paper.
For one, the authors state the importance of the fact that RISC-V is a completely free and open instruction set architecture. In contrast, all the most widely adopted instruction set architectures are proprietary. They are all also immensely complex. Who has time to read all of that?
Digging into RISC-V and how I learn new things
Props to Sun Microsystems for the fact that SPARC V8 is an open standard, but the design decisions are highly reflective of the other instruction sets from that time, leaving it unsuitable as a modern instruction set. Alpha came out of Digital Equipment Corporation DEC in the s so it got to be built with some learning from the earlier eras.
However it seems like they over-engineered it. Most interestingly, they also did not think to create any room for extra opcode space for extensions. ARMv7 is widely used and the authors seriously considered it due to the fact of its popularity and ubiquity. However ARMv7 is a closed standard and cannot be extended making it unsuitable for the authors. They also found some technical problems as well, but the biggest determent to me was the fact it has over instructions making it quite complex. The authors go over a few more instruction sets but I think you get the point that none of them were suitable for their needs.
Of course you are more than welcome to dig in further yourself, I am just not going to take the time to reiterate their work here. Continue this until you get a general understanding then jump back up into the paper where you left off. This cycle is how I dive into new things. I did this to make a point and because I was tired, maybe mostly because I was tired. Look how much I dug into the fundamentals of instruction sets before even digging into the thing I set out to learn.
This is commonly what I find happens and I wanted to show an example of my process. Then, buy a board and start playing with it. I hope this helps open your mind to learning and digging deeper on any topics that interest you.
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