October 03, 2005
Catching Up with MIPS
Please note that contributed articles, blog entries, and comments posted on EDACafe.com are the views and opinion of the author and do not necessarily represent the views and opinions of the management and staff of Internet Business Systems and its subsidiary web-sites.
Jack Horgan - Contributing Editor

by Jack Horgan - Contributing Editor
Posted anew every four weeks or so, the EDA WEEKLY delivers to its readers information concerning the latest happenings in the EDA industry, covering vendors, products, finances and new developments. Frequently, feature articles on selected public or private EDA companies are presented. Brought to you by EDACafe.com. If we miss a story or subject that you feel deserves to be included, or you just want to suggest a future topic, please contact us! Questions? Feedback? Click here. Thank you!

Where are they located? Are they spread around?

The short answer is yes. The longer answer is that some of them are located in Lake Oswego, Oregon. They have various people doing remote commuting from other places in the country. They will be maintaining their core group in Oregon.

How big a group is it?

The whole company is around 10 people.

Do you see any challenges in managing a remote development operation?

No, because we have been working with them the last six years. We've worked extremely close with them and have for a number of years. It's not like we went out and bought a company where we don't know the people individually. For a number of years we have been working closely and effectively with them.

I would also note that we acquired another company, Algorithmics, a few years ago. They're a similar acquisition in terms of size and scope. They are located outside of Cambridge. So we have some experience in working with teams like this and doing joint development over a distance.

Mike: That is Cambridge UK not Cambridge, Mass. They report to me directly. Between video conferences, phone calls and my trips to the UK on a regular basis, we actually know how to do geographically distributed management.

You have introduced new products this year. Where do you see MIPS or the industry going from a technology perspective?

Clearly, I think that the emphasis that most people will have is on 32 bit designs. I think you will continue to see a migration from the 8 and 16 bit to 32 bit. Today, I would imagine that there are roughly six billion to seven billion units in that market. We probably have a couple of billion units in the 32 bit and 64 bit markets. As you and I both require more and more functionality in all the devices we carry and use in our home, the application functionality and performance is going to require an architecture that can drive the user experience the way he wants. We've continued to see our market outperform the silicon markets for a couple of different reasons. One we've touched on is the fact that the 16 bit is going to expand our market. Within the silicon market, the embedded markets are going to be the fastest growing. They are today and I think will continue to be the fastest growing. Finally the biggest opportunity for ourselves is not really competing against competition like ARM, it's really competing against internal designs. People have made the fundamental decision or are at least aware that they are going to have to move off their proprietary designs because it is just getting to be too expensive to maintain the software tools, infrastructure and design activity around your own architecture. They're slowly working in different vertical markets to
go to a standard architecture like MIPS. If you add up those three things together; again the migration from 16 to 32 and 64 bit, the fastest growing markets in silicon being the embedded markets, and people moving from proprietary architectures to standard architectures, I think we see a terrific opportunity in front of us.

Mike: You can add to that from a technology point of view it is clear that there is a trend moving towards multiprocessors and multithreading solutions. We have had multiprocessor solutions I don't want to say for decades but darn close. The advantages we have going for us in multiprocessor is that it is a proven deal with the MIPS architectures, whereas other people are just instituting their capabilities today. On multithreading we have had a multithreading development program for a couple of years now and there will be announcements over the next some number of months as to products that incorporate multithreading. We have the area covered whether one particular customer prefers to
design with multiple cores or multithreading or even multiple cores that are built using multithreading.

Whom do you see as commercial competitors?

Predominantly people think of ARM and MIPS first. You also have Power PC though they aren't 100% focused on this. It's just another thing that they do but they have some good products in certain areas. There is a whole host of also-rans that either haven't got any focus or traction. People like FH's product I think are still used some places but there's not a lot of development activity. We don't see them a lot. There are small competitors like Tensilica and ARC International that haven't been able to get much traction. Occasionally we'll see them but they tend to be more price competitors than technology competitors for us today.

ARM is fairly sizeable. How do you differentiate yourself from them?

Other than the traditional things you would do as a company, at the end of the day it's through your technology and innovation. The 24K which is our latest product is a great example of that as compared to the ARM 11. It's probably when it is sized optimized and ARM is trying to get performance, we still are 10% to 20% faster and we're 3mm smaller. That was what I was talking about earlier when I said depending upon what type of process you're in and what the chip looks like that can be anywhere from 50 cents to $1 cheaper because as you know silicon is somewhat of a proxy for cost. On a performance basis we can optimize for speed. In my example I'm using dmips as a proxy for that. If
we optimize for speed, we are probably close to 600 dmips where ARM optimized for speed is closer to 400 dmips. We're still smaller at that as well, so we might be roughly short of 6mm and they are 7mm. Again when you optimize for size we're still 450 dmips and they are around 400 dmips. That's the way you differentiate. When you get out and talk to CEOs of companies and get them to really understand the performance and application advantage they can get and cost advantage, it's been a terrific way for us to demonstrate the differentiation and a perfect example of answering your question.

ARM is a lot bigger than MIPS. Is that because they have a lot of business in areas that do not overlap MIPS?

Certainly the acquisition of Artisan from a raw size and economic standpoint was a big contributor to that. They also have a substantial amount of money coming from cell phones. That was a market they competed for when we were back at SGI and we didn't compete for. Terrific design wins to them and generated quite a bit of revenue. If you take out Artisan and cell phones, the size of the companies becomes much closer from a scale standpoint. That's not the way life runs. So they definitely have more scale that way. But the amount of breadth and reach in product offerings that we have across vertical markets is not represented by the difference in size of companies as you might see
when you look at the financials. That's my point. They are clearly participating in some areas like with the Artisan acquisition where we're partnering with companies like Artisan and Virage more specifically. It's not a part of our company.

How significant is your recent announcement of an alliance with Virage?

To come to market with compelling solutions you need a collection of IP that you can integrate quickly and get to market. Having a close relationship with companies like Virage, EDA companies like Magma, Synopsys and Cadence and other IP providers allows you to be able to do some of the front work in integration and collaboration that allow customers to be able to differentiate and get to market a lot quicker. That's to a large degree what the partnerships that we do are like and certainly that's what the Virage partnership and announcement is about.

The top five articles over the last two weeks as determined by the number of readers were:

New Physical Verification System from Cadence September 12, 2005 Cadence introduced its Physical Verification System for rapid turnaround of DRC and LVS. The system's massively parallel approach facilitates multiple design turns per working day-even for the largest designs at 90-nanometers, 65-nanometers and below that would otherwise require overnight or multi-day runs.

« Previous Page 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5  Next Page »

You can find the full EDACafe event calendar here.

To read more news, click here.

-- Jack Horgan, EDACafe.com Contributing Editor.


Review Article Be the first to review this article

ClioSoft at DAC

Featured Video
Senior Electrical Engineer for Allen & Shariff Corporation at Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
Upcoming Events
DAC 2018 at Moscone Center West San Francisco CA - Jun 24 - 28, 2018
Symposium on Counterfeit Parts and Materials 2018 at College Park Marriott Hotel & Conference Center MD - Jun 26 - 28, 2018
Concar Expo 2018 at Convention Hall II Sonnenallee 225 Berlin Germany - Jun 27 - 28, 2018
Nanotech 2019 at Tokyo Big Sight East Halls 4-6 & Conference Tower Tokyo Japan - Jun 30 - 1, 2018
ClioSoft at DAC

Internet Business Systems © 2018 Internet Business Systems, Inc.
25 North 14th Steet, Suite 710, San Jose, CA 95112
+1 (408) 882-6554 — Contact Us, or visit our other sites:
AECCafe - Architectural Design and Engineering TechJobsCafe - Technical Jobs and Resumes GISCafe - Geographical Information Services  MCADCafe - Mechanical Design and Engineering ShareCG - Share Computer Graphic (CG) Animation, 3D Art and 3D Models
  Privacy PolicyAdvertise