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Custom processor maker SiFive appoints Intel veteran as CEO

SiFive, a startup that wants to democratize custom silicon chip design, has appointed former Intel veteran Naveed Sherwani as its CEO.

The San Francisco company is pioneering a new model in the semiconductor business and recently raised $8.5 million in a second round of funding, led by Spark Capital.

The company’s founders invented RISC-V, a free and open instruction set architecture for modern microprocessors. It consists of all of the software instructions needed to program a microprocessor based on the RISC-V architecture. And SiFive is taking that architecture and making it easy to design the custom variants that companies need.

So far, the RISC-V foundation has 65 member companies, including Google, HP Enterprise, Microsoft, IBM, Qualcomm, NVIDIA, Samsung, Microsemi, and others. SiFive has developed its Coreplex IP (intellectual property) that others can license as they design their own processors and computing systems based on RISC-V.

“SiFive has the opportunity to lead a revolution in the semiconductor industry,” Sherwani said, in a statement. “If we are able to realize our mission of democratizing the design process, the entire spectrum of innovation will shift from a handful of centralized design centers to every corner of the world. When this happens, our industry will see a renaissance of new ideas, brought to life by new talent attracted by the prospect of changing the status quo.”

Sherwani has 25 years of chip industry experience. He has been involved in…

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