Joint Conferences Keynote Lecture-2
|The Reinvention of the Microprocessor
Dr. Chris Rowen, Ph.D.
President and CEO
Tensilica, Inc., USA
Date: June 26, 2006
Time: 9:45 - 10:45 AM
Location: Lance Burton Hall
The inexorable product shift towards portable consumer and communication systems is rippling through the entire electronics food chain. The central role of microprocessors is not threatened but the fundamental make-up of those microprocessor is changing dramatically. To satisfy the technical demands of embedded systems, the microprocessor must change in four dimensions:
- silicon requirements
- power dissipation
- architectural optimization for applications
- support for heterogeneous multi-processing
While tradition microprocessor families are all responding to this pressure by incremental improvements in power, cost and application optimization, mobile embedded processors require order-of-magnitude changes. This discontinuity in requirements has given birth to ultra-low-power, application-optimized processors with a real cost of just pennies. Moreover, new ways of distributing applications across clusters of tightly-coupled processors is changing embedded system architecture and application development methods.
These new architectures and methods may ultimately transform general computing architectures through their essential advantages in silicon efficiency and energy consumption.
Dr. Chris Rowen is President and Chief Executive Officer of Tensilica. He founded Tensilica in July 1997 to develop automatic generation of application-specific microprocessors for high-volume communication and consumer systems. He was a pioneer in the development of RISC architecture at Stanford in the early 80s and helped start MIPS Computer Systems Inc. in 1984, where he served in a variety of functions including as Vice President for Microprocessor Development and managed MIPS in Europe. When Silicon Graphics purchased MIPS, he becomes the technology and market development leader for Silicon Graphics Europe. In 1996, he was hired by Synopsys to be the Vice President and General Manager of the Design Reuse Group. This experience helped him realize the limitations of the current EDA mindset and the shortcomings of existing embedded processor cores for large-scale system-on-chip (SOC) design, and led him to the founding of Tensilica. He received a B.A. in physics from Harvard University and M.S. and Ph.D. in electrical engineering from Stanford University.