[libre-riscv-dev] On language choice.

Luke Kenneth Casson Leighton lkcl at lkcl.net
Sun May 5 15:50:13 BST 2019

On Sun, May 5, 2019 at 12:10 PM Hendrik Boom <hendrik at topoi.pooq.com> wrote:
> On Sun, May 05, 2019 at 04:31:23AM +0100, Luke Kenneth Casson Leighton wrote:
> > *you* could implement them... however what about the users?  what is
> > the cost *to them*?
> >
> > i always look beyond the immediate "is this easy", thinking of the
> > whole picture.  programming, for me, is actually quite challenging.
> > so i think regularly in terms of "how can i minimise the amount of
> > programming needed, to complete the *whole* picture?"
> I agree.  And for programming I always wonder, what's the best way to
> minimize debugging time, since I've found that to be the most
> time-consuming aspet of programming.  Which is why I prefer strong type
> checking ... but the *wrong* type system is worse than none.

 when working with the shakti team, to write bluespec, it was...
almost impossible to get your head round even the simplest of tasks.
i constantly had to interrupt the lead engineer, sometimes for over an
hour, to make progress.

 that having been said: it was *literally* imposslble (bluespec is
written in haskell) - as in it had been formally mathematically proven
- that any BSV program would be 100% synthesiseable.

 as a result, the shakti team's first ever chip - which by the way was
also india's first ever home-grown 64-bit chip - is 100% successful
*on first silicon* at 22nm.  which is a stunning achievement that's
mainly down to the decision to use bluespec.

> And a
> language without good library support isn't going to cut it any more.

 this has me concerned about bluespec.  the only organisations
releasing libraries into the wild are universities, and they use it
because they get monetarily-zero-cost bluespec licenses.


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