MIPS Technologies introduced Release 5 (R5) of the MIPS architecture. R5 encompasses the MIPS32, MIPS64 and microMIPS instruction set architectures. The release incorporates important functionality including virtualization and SIMD (Single Instruction Multiple Data) modules. Key features of the MIPS architecture R5 specification are available for licensing now. Several MIPS licensees already have products in development. These features are expected to be added to MIPS processors in the coming year.
Release 5 of the MIPS architecture features MIPS SIMD architecture (MSA) module, MIPS Virtualization (VZ) module, and Enhanced Virtual Addressing (EVA). EVA enables more flexible definition of virtual address space, and extends available memory for large modern workloads. This feature is already supported in MIPS’ new proAptiv and interAptiv core families.
R5 of the MIPS architecture also includes select functions (such as multi-threading and DSP) that were previously Application Specific Extensions (ASEs). This will ease the process for engineers to integrate these technologies into products.
MIPS SIMD Architecture (MSA) Module
The MIPS SIMD architecture (MSA) module enables efficient parallel processing of vector operations. The functionality is of growing importance across a range of applications. The MSA module will add a number of new instructions to the MIPS architecture, implemented with strict adherence to RISC (Reduced Instruction Set Computer) design principles. From the beginning, MIPS architects designed the MSA with simple instructions that lead to less complex implementations. The simple instructions are also easy to support within high-level languages such as C or OpenCL. This enables fast and simple development of new code, as well as leverage of existing code.
MIPS Virtualization (VZ) Module
The MIPS Virtualization (VZ) module is a highly-scalable option that provides a number of capabilities, including enhanced security features and support for multiple operating systems. Across the home entertainment and mobile markets, hardware virtualization enables security and content protection — especially important as consumers increasingly use these devices for HD media streaming, cloud storage, secure ID protection, mobile payments and other highly secure applications. As 32-bit microcontrollers become more capable, security needs are also increasing in embedded applications such as smart grids and smart meters. Virtualization is also important in the enterprise, where it allows multiple operating systems and applications to run in parallel, and enables workload consolidation. The MIPS VZ module is a simple and flexible hardware-based solution that satisfies these varied requirements with limited or no performance impact.
More info: MIPS Technologies, Inc.