Architecture extension proposal for ConfigPtr CSR to "Unified RISC-V Discovery Method" config structure

Greg Favor

The new "unified RISC-V low-level discovery method" being developed by tech-config (for use by all extensions that have information that needs to be easily discoverable by software), is almost completely software-based.  The compressed binary config structure (containing all the discovery information) will reside somewhere in system physical address space and will be read and decoded (based on a standardized RISC-V schema) by an M-mode parser/decoder into all the individual discoverable items available for use by software.

Typically M-mode software, during the boot flow, may make use of some of this information, but much of that information will be populated into a high-level discovery structure for use by other software components in the system (e.g. Device Tree or ACPI tables in Linux-class systems; Device Tree or some other suitable structure in embedded systems).  Other agents, such as an external debugger, may also read and parse this structure for discovering Debug and Trace architecture related information.

To support this, each hart needs to have a CSR that provides an address pointer to the memory-resident config data structure - which can reside anywhere in system address space and may physically reside on or off chip in whatever suitable form of storage.  This fast track extension standardizes this CSR.  This email (I'm helping out the people developing the overall discovery method) starts a prelim review of this extension on the tech-priv and tech-config email lists.

The proposed official extension name is 'Smdisc'.

The 'mconfigptr' CSR is an MXLEN-wide R/W M-mode CSR that provides a system physical address pointer to a memory-resident config data structure to be used by a software method for low-level discovery of configuration information about harts and the rest of the system.  Some implementations may hardwire this CSR to a suitable value.  The assigned CSR number is 0x750.


P.S. The Debug Architecture already contains config structure pointer registers in the Debug Module for use by an external debugger.

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