In responding to my previous blog, "Imagination dumps MIPS sales team in China," Tony King-Smith, vice president of marketing at Imagination Technologies, vehemently protested. “Nothing is further than truth,” he said. Imagination, now the owner of MIPS, reiterated the company’s firm commitment to China and its MIPS architecture.
He explained that before the merger took place, of course, Imagination already had its own people in China, and so did MIPS. When the companies integrated, a few people were affected and some left the company on their own, he noted. “We tried to minimize" drastic changes in the team, he added.
Today, Imagination has “a significant operation in China,” said King-Smith, with a combined team of “20 to 30 people working in Shanghai and in Shenzhen.” The team includes everyone from engineering to support and sales, he added.
Meta CPU to MIPS Clearly, Imagination’s calling the MIPS architecture “the backbone of our processor offering in the future” isn’t just a platitude. While Imagination’s home-grown Meta CPU (Imagination's 32-bit apps CPU) is being used in specialty applications, Imagination’s CPU efforts “are now migrating to MIPS architecture,” said King-Smith.
The plan is for Imagination to take MIPS CPU cores from low-end to high-end, said King-Smith. Historically speaking, he said that Imagination has been very strong in “cores,” while MIPS is all about “CPU architecture.” The next logical step for the combined team is to take the MIPS-based cores to a broad range of systems applications from low-end to high-end, he explained.
Imagination has been rolling out the MIPS roadmap under NDA to select customers, including some in China. “MIPS architecture is a live development” carried out by “a significant team” whose resources doubled recently, he said. “Your investment in the MIPS architecture is safe.”
Where MIPS cores go next is a part of the discussions on its roadshow in China right now, said King-Smith.
David Patterson, known for his pioneering research that led to RAID, clusters and more, is part of a team at UC Berkeley that recently made its RISC-V processor architecture an open source hardware offering. We talk with Patterson and one of his colleagues behind the effort about the opportunities they see, what new kinds of designs they hope to enable and what it means for today’s commercial processor giants such as Intel, ARM and Imagination Technologies.