MIPS (originally an acronym for Microprocessor without Interlocked Pipeline Stages) is a reduced instruction set computer (RISC) instruction set architecture (ISA) developed by MIPS Technologies (formerly MIPS Computer Systems, Inc.). The early MIPS architectures were 32-bit, and later versions were 64-bit. Multiple revisions of the MIPS instruction set exist, including MIPS I, MIPS II, MIPS III, MIPS IV, MIPS V, MIPS32, and MIPS64. The current revisions are MIPS32 (for 32-bit implementations) and MIPS64 (for 64-bit implementations). MIPS32 and MIPS64 define a control register set as well as the instruction set.
Several optional extensions are also available, including MIPS-3D which is a simple set of floating-point SIMD instructions dedicated to common 3D tasks, MDMX (MaDMaX) which is a more extensive integer SIMD instruction set using the 64-bit floating-point registers, MIPS16e which adds compression to the instruction stream to make programs take up less room, and MIPS MT, which adds multithreading capability.
Computer architecture courses in universities and technical schools often study the MIPS architecture. The architecture greatly influenced later RISC architectures such as Alpha.
MIPS implementations are primarily used in embedded systems such as Windows CE devices, routers, residential gateways, and video game consoles such as the Sony PlayStation 2 and PlayStation Portable. Until late 2006, they were also used in many of SGI's computer products. MIPS implementations were also used by Digital Equipment Corporation, NEC, Pyramid Technology, Siemens Nixdorf, Tandem Computers and others during the late 1980s and 1990s. In the mid to late 1990s, it was estimated that one in three RISC microprocessors produced was a MIPS implementation.
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“It seems a fantastic paradox, but it is nevertheless a most important truth, that no architecture can be truly noble which is not imperfect.”
—John Ruskin (18191900)