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Modular Microprocessor Implementation

Objective

The MMI project is based on the MIPS reduced instruction set architecture (RISC). Its three main objectives are to:

- create the computer system building-blocks required to enable the close integration of the MIPS processor cores with specific system peripheral circuits;
- enable a reduction of computer systems to profiles such as desktop, laptop, etc, which will in turn entail a reduction in circuit footprints and power consumption;
- increase Unix-like computer system performance, within the same price-range, but taking advantage of the architectural features and increased clock frequencies made possible by advanced CMOS process technology.
The project was based on the MIPS reduced instruction set architecture (RISC). Its 3 main areas were:
creation of the computer system building blocks required to enable the close integration of the MIPS processor cores with specific system peripheral circuits;
a reduction of computer systems to profiles such as desktop, laptop, etc, which would in turn entail a reduction in circuit footprints and power consumption;
an increase in Unix like computer system performance, within the same price range, but taking advantage of the architectural features and increased clock frequencies made possible by advanced complementary metal oxide semiconductor (CMOS) process technology.

The building blocks developed are compatible with and accessible via the European Library Interface (ELI), enabling European users of the MIPS architecture to define and source their MIPS based components from a European silicon vendor. The building blocks were defined in verifiable hardware description language (VHDL). The MMI project used both MIPS 32 bit R3000 and 64 bit R4000 architectures. For 32 bit systems, work focused on developing macrocell building blocks, including a core (R3000A), floating point unit (R3010A), writer buffer (R3223), an ELI/X-BUS interface cell and a peripheral macrofunction cell. Special measures were taken to decrease dynamic and static power consumption, including a power management capability. The definition of the PI-Bus standard (originally called X-bus) was submitted as a proposed standard to the OMI/STANDARDS project.
In accordance with the general objectives of the OMI initiative, the building-blocks developed in the project will be compatible with and accessible via the European Library Interface (ELI), enabling European users of the MIPS architecture to define and source their MIPS-based components from a European silicon vendor. The building-blocks will be defined in VHDL.

The MMI project will use both MIPS 32-bit R3000 and 64-bit R4000 architectures. For 32-bit systems, work will focus on developing macrocell building blocks, including a core (R3000A), floating-point unit (R3010A), writer-buffer (R3223), an ELI/X-BUS interface cell and a peripheral macrofunction cell. Special measures will be taken to decrease dynamic and static power consumption, including a power management capability. This work will be validated in two user-defined application demonstrators, targeted on portable systems, in the latter half of 1994. For 64-bit systems, work will focus on achieving substantial increases in performance through developing an innovative processor core and closely coupled peripherals. The improvements will be evaluated by the user partners, who will incorporate the resulting processor into their workstation and database server product lines.

However, due to rapid changes of exploitation conditions and business foci all project partners mutually agreed to terminate the project as of 1 April 1993.

Coordinator

Siemens AG
Address
Otto-hahn-ring 6
81739 München
Germany

Participants (3)

Digital Equipment Corporation
United Kingdom
Address
Moshill Industrial Estate
KA6 6BE Ayr
ENTWICKLUNGSZENTRUM FUER MIKROELEKTRONIK
Austria
Address
Siemensstr. 2
9500 Villach
SIEMENS NIXDORF INFORMATIONSSYSTEME
Germany
Address
Bahnhofstraße 32
33102 Paderborn