The reduced instruction set computer, or RISC, is a CPU design philosophy that favors a reduced instruction set as well as a simpler set of instructions.
The idea was originally inspired by the discovery that many of the features that were included in traditional CPU designs to facilitate coding were being ignored by the programs that were running on them. Also these more complex features took several processor cycles to be performed. Additionally, the performance gap between the processor and main memory was increasing. This led to a number of techniques to streamline processing within the CPU, while at the same time attempting to reduce the total number of memory accesses.