INNOVATORS VS COVID 19
Calista Redmond of RISC-V International Tells Us About Its Open-Source Development Model and COVID-19
First of all, how are you and your family doing in these COVID-19 times?
Calista Redmond: We’re doing well, thank you. We’re fortunate to be keeping healthy and maintaining reliable internet access.
Tell us about you, your career, how you joined RISC-V International.
Calista Redmond: Technology is a fundamental building block that helps to improve society and connect communities while promoting changes and advancements across industries. These factors are what have drawn me to focus my career on this industry. With open-source, I have been inspired by the ability it creates for collaboration, linking various disciplines while removing geographic borders at the same time. This drives lasting change in how we operate and how we are connected with each other.
With over 20 years of senior-level management, alliance, and significant open source community experience, my mission when joining RISC-V International was to expand and engage RISC-V stakeholders, compel industry adoption and increase visibility and opportunity for RISC-V within and beyond RISC-V International. Prior to RISC-V, I held a variety of roles at IBM, including Vice President of IBM Z Ecosystem. In this role, I led strategic relationships across software vendors, system integrators, business partners, developer communities, and broader engagement across the industry. My focus areas included the execution of commercialization strategies, technical and business support for partners, and matchmaker to opportunities. My background also includes building and leading strategic business models within IBM’s Systems Group through open source initiatives, including OpenPOWER, OpenDaylight, and Open Mainframe Project. For OpenPOWER, we focused on drafting the strategy, cultivating the foundation of partners, and nurturing strategic relationships to grow the organization.
How does RISC-V International innovate?
Calista Redmond: RISC-V has had a tremendous impact in bringing the open-source development model together with the fundamental tenets of global standards down to the microprocessor level. Members using the RISC-V instruction set architecture (ISA) range from students to multi-nationals. The contributions and adoption of RISC-V are ushering in an era where custom processors with no barriers to entry are possible. For instance, the approach of both modular technology and an open license model means that an entrepreneur may build a new business as easily as our colleagues in open source software, or students at a university can use the ISA to develop, learn and grow their knowledge around the foundation of technology in things such as microprocessors, system on a chip (SoCs), artificial intelligence (AI) and more.
We’ve recently aligned our working groups and committees on key technical elements needed to build and innovate solutions for industry’s applications, from embedded to enterprise, from micro-controller to cloud servers. RISC-V has recently launched our first compliance suite to ensure solutions are compliant with the base RISC-V architecture. There are many things the community works on to help to continue driving the innovation and development surrounding the ISA.
How the coronavirus pandemic affects your business, and how are you coping?
Calista Redmond: The pandemic is a global challenge, and like many massive industry disruptions, history has taught us we overcome the challenge by coming together. Open Source has been a hallmark of bringing the technical building blocks together for shared success for decades, and RISC-V is following this recipe. The pandemic has brought economic pressure across the industry. Our community is realizing the benefit of collaboration to reduce development time and budget while enabling a multitude of commercialization opportunities. As an organization, we support our members during this difficult time with more tools and resources for collaboration, learning, and connecting. By removing the barriers of licensing and other restrictions, we’re opening the doors to opportunity.
Did you have to make difficult choices, and what are the lessons learned?
Calista Redmond: It’s been challenging to shift our community to an entirely virtual experience. We miss the deep relationships that are cultivated in our events around the world, from our 28 local meet-up groups with 4000+ members to our major events in North America, Europe, and Asia. While relationship-building has transitioned to online, we continue to see profound interest in engaging and helping our community to find partners from innovation and supply chain to new customers in a broad set of industries.
How do you deal with stress and anxiety, how do you project yourself and RISC-V International in the future?
Calista Redmond: Balance is fundamental to building a healthy community and managing the challenges that come our way. We take time as a community and leadership team to reflect and set short and long-term goals and build programs to support and grow member success. We have stayed on course in our growth to see a 60% increase in members over 2020 and continue to see analysts report the opportunity for custom processors growing at staggering rates.
Who are your competitors? And how do you plan to stay in the game?
Calista Redmond: As diversity and choice are necessary components when working within an open-source community, we wouldn’t necessarily classify any company as competitors. RISC-V is an open-source ISA, not a ‘rip and replace’ type of technology. Therefore, it provides all companies with a flexible building block to create the technology they need, whether it is the smallest microprocessor or the largest SoC for hardware.
RISC-V relies on the community to get work done since we do not have a typical development team. The sense of the open-source community means that we rely on our members to contribute, to refine, and to vote on ISA extensions, software, tools, and other resources. We have 43 technical workgroups that focus on various pieces of the puzzle, and many members are already going to market and leveraging the tools and resources necessary for success.
Your final thoughts?
Calista Redmond: We have a wealth of information on our website at www.riscv.org and will host our deepest dive of the year at the RISC-V Summit. If you are interested in learning more about the RISC-V community and what various members such as Google, IBM, SiFive, and Western Digital more are working on, join us Dec. 8 – 10 at the RISC-V Summit 2020. At the event, members will host discussions, keynotes, tech talks, tutorials, and more focusing on topics such as verification, system architectures, software and tools, security and functional safety, and more.
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