13-Year-Old, Nicholas Sharkey, Creates a RISC-V Core!
In 2015 RISC-V International was was founded to build an open, collaborative community of software and hardware innovators based on the RISC-V ISA!
One of my great pleasures operating my EDA startup, Redwood EDA, is working with enthusiastic college students and open-source developers and seeing how our technology is renewing excitement for logic design. Recently, Kunal Ghosh of VLSI System Design and I conducted our third “Microprocessor for You in Thirty Hours” (MYTH) Workshop, where participants learn about RISC-V and build their own RISC-V CPU cores (something that’s typically done over the course of a semester or two). In addition to reaching graduate students and professionals, one of our goals with the workshop is to give students an opportunity to learn logic design earlier in their education–like, say, as a college freshman or sophomore. So just imagine our surprise when Nicholas introduced himself in the chat forum of our workshop.
This was a real test of our goals. It was also a real testament to Nicholas’s thirst for knowledge and the outside-the-box thinking of his home-schooling parents, Rasa and Mike. Having a 13-year-old of my own, I was particularly impressed by Nicholas’s willingness to put himself out there, asking questions and joining Zoom calls (not to mention his familiarity with Linux). I’ve since learned that Nicholas has been awarded in spelling bees and math competitions and is an expert at solving the Rubik’s Cube. Somehow, I’m not surprised.
Admittedly, the workshop was a stretch for Nicholas and, for him, did not live up to its 30-hour claim. At the close of the workshop, he had gotten a little more than halfway through. He had learned about the RISC-V ISA and compilation tools; he had developed circuit design skills; he had created a pipelined calculator circuit; and his first RISC-V CPU was showing signs of life. We considered this a great success!
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