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An AI model designed a functional RISC-V CPU in less than 5 hours.

A group of Chinese researchers published a paper describing how they used AI to automate the creation of a CPU about as fast as an Intel i486SX (via Tom’s Hardware) in what they called a “foundational step towards building self-evolving machines.”

The CPU performs comparably against the human-designed Intel 80486SX CPU, while the design cycle is significantly reduced by about 1000×. This is the world’s first CPU designed by AI, pushing the limit of machine design and offering clear evidence of human-like design ability...

We also demonstrate that our approach can discover not only the general von Neumann architecture but also fine-grain architecture optimization from scratch, which sheds some light towards the machine’s self-evolution.

The Intel i486SX was an early-90s entry-level enterprise CPU.