Wave Computing has emerged from bankruptcy proceedings with the surprise news that it’s taking the name of its MIPS subsidiary and moving to the free and open-source RISC-V ISA for future processor IP.
Wave Computing dipped its toes in the free and open-source silicon movement back in 2018, announcing that its subsidiary MIPS Tech, acquired from Imagination Technologies in June that year, would provide 32- and 64-bit versions of the MIPS instruction set architecture (ISA) and full licences to its MIPS-related patent portfolio free of licensing fees and royalty payments. “We invite the worldwide community to join us in this exciting journey,” MIPS IP president Art Swift said at the time, “and look forward to seeing the many MIPS-based innovations that result.”
In March 2019 the first MIPS Open IP hit the market, but seven months later the MIPS Open initiative shuttered with immediate effect. The decision seemed inexplicable – until Wave Computing filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in April last year, unveiling financial troubles.
Now, that process is complete – and Wave Computing is back, but under a new name: Wave Computing is now MIPS, and is to push forward with a focus on its processor IP. That focus, interestingly, includes a move away from its in-house MIPS ISA for future designs: instead, the company’s eighth-generation cores will be based on the free and open-source RISC-V architecture with which Wave Computing’s MIPS Open had hoped to compete.
The reborn MIPS has not yet indicated whether it plans to release its eighth-generation IP under open terms or to keep it proprietary.