Mark Smotherman. Last updated April 1998
- Founded in 1985 by Bruce Lightner and Val Popescu. Goal of designing
out-of-order execution processors using Bruce Lightner's DRIS concept.
- Backed by LSI Logic to work on Lightning v8 SPARC processor
(which was never fabbed), 1989-1991.
- Backed by Hyundai to work on
Thunder v8 SPARC processor,
1991-1995. (3-chip, Mbus attachable, booted SunOS in 1995). Hyundai
bought controlling interest in the company in 1994.
- Now owned by SGS Thomson Microelectronics (controlling interest acquired
in 1997). Various "speculation" about whether they are now doing
Mpact or x86 design work. Lightner quoted in 1997 that they are out of
the SPARC business.
Patents on Metaflow techniques
- 5,708,841 - Processor architecture providing speculative,
out of order execution of instructions
- 5,627,983 - Processor architecture providing out-of-order execution
- 5,625,837 - Processor architecture having out-of-order execution,
speculative branching, and giving priority to instructions
which affect a condition code
- 5,592,636 - Processor architecture supporting multiple speculative
branches and trap handling
- 5,561,776 - Processor architecture supporting multiple speculative
- 5,487,156 - Processor architecture having independentlyufetching
issuing and updating operations of instructions which are sequentially
assigned and stored in order fetched
- B. Lightner and G. Hill, "The Metaflow Lightning Chipset,"
COMPCON, 1991, pp. 13-18.
- V. Popescu, M. Schultz, J. Spracklen, G. Gibson, B. Lightner, D. Isaman,
"The Metaflow architecture," IEEE Micro, June 1991, pp. 10-13, 63-73.
- B. Lightner, "The Thunder SPARC processor," HOT CHIPS VI, August 1994.
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