R6, the most recent version of the 32-and-64-bit MIPS architecture, has been released free of charge at the MIPS Open web page.
Under the MIPS Open program, participants have full access to the MIPS R6 architecture free of charge – with no licensing or royalty fees.
R6 is the first release of its MIPS Open program components based on Wave Computing’s MIPS instruction set architecture (ISA) and recent architectural extensions.
The intent of the MIPS Open initiative is to accelerate adoption of the MIPS architecture by chip developers, ecosystem partners and academic communities.
Specific components of the first MIPS Open program release include:
- MIPS ISA – A downloadable copy of the latest R6 version of the MIPS 32-and-64-bit architecture, including extensions such as virtualization, multi-threading, SIMD, DSP and microMIPS code compression;
- MIPS Open Tools – Integrated development environment for embedded real-time operating systems and Linux-based systems for embedded products that enable developers to build, debug and deploy applications on MIPS-based hardware and software platforms;
- MIPS Open Field Programmable Gate Arrays (FPGAs)– A training program for community members that includes:
- Getting Started Package – Provides the MIPS FPGA system as a set of Verilog files, plus an overview and instructions on how to use the MIPS FPGA system;
- Labs – Includes 25 hands-on labs that help developers explore the MIPS architecture and system-level designs;
- SoC Tutorials – Step-by-step direction on how to build a system-on-chip design based on the MIPS Open FPGA using an open source Linux operating system;
- RTL Code for the MIPS microAptiv core – Sample (non-commercial) code enables developers to explore microarchitecture features.
Additional enhancements and capabilities for the MIPS Open components are planned, including the release of the commercial RTL code for the MIPS microAptiv cores and new features for the development environment. Wave also plans to host a series of MIPS Open Developer Days, wherein designers can meet face-to-face to exchange ideas, learn about new ISA features and receive guidance on their designs.
MIPS Open Tools cover integrated development environment for embedded real-time operating systems and Linux-based systems for embedded products. They will enable developers to build, debug and deploy applications on MIPS-based hardware and software platforms.
MIPS Open FPGAs is a complete training program for community members. MIPSfpga, according to Swift, was originally developed as a classroom academic program. It comes with a set of materials for a MIPS CPU, allowing students to see the actual RTL code and inner workings of the processor. MIPS Open FPGAs “should be helpful to developers who need to familiarize themselves with MIPS architecture.
Wave Computer's initial announcement to go open source with MIPS -- announced late last year. This is Wave Computer's chance to keep the MIPS instruction set relevant and steal some momentum from RISC-V.
MIPS Open might appeal more to traditional companies, who prefer “staying within the rules” in an open-source community. On one hand, MIPS should attract those who want to leverage architectural license to build their own spec from scratch.
Wave Computing, which acquired MIPS last year, has talked about its vision of “AI for All.” Wave, a designer of AI accelerators, is said to have big plans to push AI from the data center to the edge. MIPS Open will be an initiative critical to that strategy, according to Derek Meyer, CEO of Wave.