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New microprocessor architecture

Discussion in 'Electronic Design' started by [email protected], Mar 3, 2007.

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  1. Guest

    Hi Friends,

    I have one patent about a new microprocessor architecture so called
    "Network-on-Chip Dataflow Architecture". The patent has been proved in
    Germany, and is processed in the US. According to my analyzing, it is
    very powerful, low power consumption, and requires low memory
    bandwidth. Its performance lies in between normal microprocessors and
    FPGA prototypes depending on application. I want to introduce it to
    companies so that people can use it but I do not know the procedure.
    It would be very grateful if you could give me some advices.

    Thank you very much in advance.

    Regards,

    TLN
     
  2. rickman

    rickman Guest

    "There's many a slip twixt cup and lip". Inventing something is a
    notable effort. Prospering from that achievement is a separate and
    very different effort. There is no receipt for promoting an
    invention. Securing a patent is a good start to prevent it from being
    stolen. But in electronics it is hard to invent something that can be
    fully utilized without infringing on other patents. That is why most
    companies swap patents rather than to try to utilize just their own
    patents.

    Where does this leave the individual inventor? In a hole that is hard
    to climb out of. First I would recommend that you determine which
    application markets would get the most gain from changing from what
    they are using now to your invention. Then you need to understand
    enough about their business to state the business case in terms they
    will understand. You also need to understand their business case
    enough to be able to explain how *perceived* shortcomings in your
    approach will not harm their buisness model. This can be a lot easier
    than trying to make them understand that the shortcomings don't
    exist. Remember that your view does not matter, only their view and
    how you can shape it.

    Keep in mind that a name can shape the initial impression, which for
    many customers, may be the only impression that is ever formed. So
    choose your product name carefully. You don't want to create the
    wrong impression. For example, the use of the word Network in the
    name here implies that it would be for networking applications. I
    suspect this is not really the case and "Network" refers to how the
    workings of the chip are interconnected. But without getting any
    further info, a potential customer may get the wrong impression and
    never inquire further.

    So in what markets do you see your processor design excelling beyond
    the current and future processor architectures?
     
  3. mike

    mike Guest

    Your guidance was both very wise and beautifully presented!




    | On Mar 3, 10:54 am, wrote:
    | > Hi Friends,
    | >
    | > I have one patent about a new microprocessor architecture so
    called
    | > "Network-on-Chip Dataflow Architecture". The patent has been
    proved in
    | > Germany, and is processed in the US. According to my analyzing, it
    is
    | > very powerful, low power consumption, and requires low memory
    | > bandwidth. Its performance lies in between normal microprocessors
    and
    | > FPGA prototypes depending on application. I want to introduce it
    to
    | > companies so that people can use it but I do not know the
    procedure.
    | > It would be very grateful if you could give me some advices.
    | >
    | > Thank you very much in advance.
    |
    | "There's many a slip twixt cup and lip". Inventing something is a
    | notable effort. Prospering from that achievement is a separate and
    | very different effort. There is no receipt for promoting an
    | invention. Securing a patent is a good start to prevent it from
    being
    | stolen. But in electronics it is hard to invent something that can
    be
    | fully utilized without infringing on other patents. That is why
    most
    | companies swap patents rather than to try to utilize just their own
    | patents.
    |
    | Where does this leave the individual inventor? In a hole that is
    hard
    | to climb out of. First I would recommend that you determine which
    | application markets would get the most gain from changing from what
    | they are using now to your invention. Then you need to understand
    | enough about their business to state the business case in terms they
    | will understand. You also need to understand their business case
    | enough to be able to explain how *perceived* shortcomings in your
    | approach will not harm their buisness model. This can be a lot
    easier
    | than trying to make them understand that the shortcomings don't
    | exist. Remember that your view does not matter, only their view and
    | how you can shape it.
    |
    | Keep in mind that a name can shape the initial impression, which for
    | many customers, may be the only impression that is ever formed. So
    | choose your product name carefully. You don't want to create the
    | wrong impression. For example, the use of the word Network in the
    | name here implies that it would be for networking applications. I
    | suspect this is not really the case and "Network" refers to how the
    | workings of the chip are interconnected. But without getting any
    | further info, a potential customer may get the wrong impression and
    | never inquire further.
    |
    | So in what markets do you see your processor design excelling beyond
    | the current and future processor architectures?
    |
     
  4. |>
    |> "There's many a slip twixt cup and lip". Inventing something is a
    |> notable effort. Prospering from that achievement is a separate and
    |> very different effort. ...

    Very true! And the abilities needed for the two rarely occur in the
    same person, for well-known psychological reasons.


    Regards,
    Nick Maclaren.
     

  5. A transputer revival ?

    Rene
     
  6. tv

    tv Guest

    Hi

    congratulations.
    have you ever had a look at the DAPDNA architecture from IPLEX and the
    picochip architecture? these architectures almost match your specs/
    claims.

    regards
    ananth
     
  7. Guest

    If you really want people to use it giving up on patent would be a
    good starting point.
     
  8. rickman

    rickman Guest


    Yeah, I bet that is the way that ARM got people to use their
    architecture, giving up their patents!
     
  9. I don't think patents or not makes much of a difference. What you
    need is a convincing proof of concept -- few are willing to invest in
    something completely new unless they can be sure it will be
    worthwhile, and just having a paper design of an architecture with no
    implementation, support chips, compilers, operating systems, etc. will
    require massive investments to make commercially useful.

    ARM had a proof of concept in the Archimedes computer from Acorn,
    which persuaded Apple to invest in the CPU architecture (intending to
    use it for their Newton PDA and, romours tell, for a home computer
    that never saw the light of day).

    Torben
     
  10. rickman

    rickman Guest

    Perhaps you missed my point. I am not saying that a Patent is
    everything. Read my original post here. I am saying that a Patent is
    required to prevent others from stealing your invention, but you also
    need to know how to market the invention to show how it is to the
    advantage of your customers.

    To say a patent does not make much of a difference is a bit silly.
    Sure you can make your invention open source and let the world have
    it, but that means you have to make your money by other means which is
    not the same for hardware as it is for software.

    I don't see why you are using ARM as an example. That is my example
    of how they are preventing the world from copying their famously
    popular instruction set as compared to Intel who allowed their 8051
    and x386 ISAs to be copied freely. As a result Intel has lots of
    direct competition for sockets and ARM is looking like the 32 bit 8051
    except that they make money off of every chip built. The only real
    barrier to potential customers developing or using open source ARM
    designs is the patent ARM has on an essential circuit I am told. When
    that runs out in another 10 or so years, ARM7 will be freely copied if
    anyone still has interest in it. Maybe that is why they have come out
    with the Cortex M3, to start a new patent clock ticking?
     
  11. Indeed. Selling a new unproven idea is much harder than an improvement
    of an existing idea that complements what a company is already doing.
    If you made a better branch predictor you would find many interested
    parties.
    Dataflow architectures are outside mainstream and will require a lot of
    effort to show that they compete with conventional hardware and software.
    Most companies prefer solutions not unsolved (or unsolveable!) problems.

    So I think it is pretty unlikely someone just takes the idea and runs with
    it -
    having a patent on it or not is pretty much irrelevant as the patent on its
    own is only a tiny part of a complete working system. I think the best way
    is to set up your own company and do it yourself. Once you've got it all
    working you can start thinking about selling the proven technology to other
    companies.
    The difference between ARM and x86 is that ARM doesn't have fabs,
    let alone ones that are the best in the world, so it can only sell IP. The
    patents are needed to protect this IP. In addition, an ARM design takes
    far less effort to copy than an x86 design, so the risk of someone making
    a competitive clone without paying ARM is much higher. Companies
    have tried making x86 CPUs but nobody had enough resources to
    compete with Intel/AMD, so no patent protection is required for x86.
    Not really. ARM7 is 12 years old and already at the end of its useful
    life, so it was becoming urgent to design something better. It's always
    better to obsolete your own products rather than let a competitor do it!

    Incidentally, ARM2 is now over 20 years old, so the earliest patents
    must be close to running out. Will anyone bother cloning an ARM2?
    I think it's very unlikely - ARM2 was obsoleted by ARM7 in 1995.
    So few will be interested in Thumb-1 when the Thumb patents run out.

    Of course new patents apply to the Cortex architecture to protect the
    investment, but it's the technology that attracts ARM's customers in
    the first place, not whether it is patented or not.

    Wilco
     
  12. rickman

    rickman Guest

    I'm not sure I understand what you are saying. If you are saying that
    there is much more than just patent to makeing money on an invention,
    then we agree. If you are saying you don't need a patent, we disagree
    totally. The patent is the absolute requirement on a technical
    invention if you don't want people to copy your work and make money
    without giving you a cut.

    I disagree. They could protect the IP with any number of mechanisms
    such as encrypted libraries, non-disclosure agreements, etc. But the
    invention could be duplicated by simply reading the ISA documentation
    and designing your own... if there were no patents involved. My
    understanding is that ARM has patented some feature of the way they
    handle interrupts (not sure I am getting this right) that is closely
    tied to the instruction set. So to implement the instruction set you
    *have* to violate the patent.

    If ARM did not have a patent, their chips would go the path of the
    8051 and be even more widely popular than they are now, but like Intel
    gets nothing from the 8051 clones, ARM would get nothing.

    It has nothing to do with fabs or the size of the company. BTW, did
    you try to slip one past us by saying Intel/AMD as if they were one
    company??? Doesn't AMD *compete* with Intel in the x86 market???
    Sure the others may have gone by the wayside as happens in so many
    electronics sectors, but AMD is eating Intel's lunch and it is all
    because there were no patents that could be used to stop AMD. Oh,
    Intel tried! They spent several years in court and AMD had to
    redesign the microcode for their version of the 486. But from then on
    AMD had free reign to make work-alike chips with varying periods of
    boom and bust. The last few years have seen AMD nibbling away at
    Intel market share and now they are starting to be a force in the
    server market. Too bad Intel didn't have a patent to protect their
    archetecture.

    Funny, when I talk to the vendors of ARM MCUs they tell me that they
    have great new ARM7 parts coming out nearly every day. So far only
    Luminary has a CM3 chip line out and they can't compete with the ARM7
    except in limited areas. One way their parts are very uncompetitive
    is in power consumption. But we'll have to wait for others to produce
    the CM3 in more modern technologies.

    That is the point of continuing to reinvent the archtecture and aquire
    new patents... to continue to lock out competition from using the ISA
    that you made popular.

    You just don't understand the business issues. Sure, customers don't
    care about your patents. But that is not what they are for. A patent
    protects your inventions against being copied by your competition.
    That means they have to do their own work and not ride on your
    coattails. Then your customers say with you to get the inventions if
    they are better than the competitor's inventions (along with all the
    other stuff that goes with MCUs such as support, knowledge base,
    tools, etc).

    This all seems pretty simple and obvious to me. Are you pulling my
    leg?
     
  13. The 32 bit market is not all going ARMs way, and the protection
    on cores is less of a road block than it was, and getting less over
    time. (see below)

    Not quite : A patent is a license to litigate.
    Yes, it gives some protection, but there are other ways to compete
    than a slavish-clone, and it is no help then.
    and that 'other stuff' is getting easier to clone these days.

    Freescale are about the spin their Coldfire-V1 core,(and did a new
    Starcore recently), Zilog have Zneo, MIPS refuses to go away, Atmel have
    AVR32, and DSP devices from Analog Devices, and TI continue to hold the
    high ground on speed.

    Lattice have an open source 32 bit CPU - so the core itself
    is less and less of a hold over customers.

    Of course, a core-vendor will claim the core is everything :)

    -jg
     
  14. Rich Grise

    Rich Grise Guest

    This is not entirely true. A patent _and more money than the other guy_
    are required to prevent others from stealing your invention. ;-)

    Good Luck!
    Rich
     
  15. rickman

    rickman Guest

    I understand your point, but that it not really true. It is true that
    deep pockets can throw up a lot of legal roadblocks that take
    financing to overcome. But if you have a patent that is clearly worth
    something, you can get backers. It does not take a billion dollars to
    fight GM... in fact there was a case where a gentleman got a patent on
    the automatic intermittent windshield wiper control. IIRC, Ford would
    not pay him royalties and used the invention. It took the guy
    something like 15 or 20 years, but he eventually did win and I believe
    they had to pay his legal costs and damages.

    We had this conversation about how good/bad patents were a short time
    ago in another group. I really don't want to get into that. I will
    suffice to say that patents are useful and often a necessary way to
    protect one's invention. Then you still need a lot of other stuff to
    make money from that invention... including money!
     
  16. Wilco Dijkstra wrote:
    [...]
    Au contraire, x86 is probably the architecture with the most patents
    covering it. It's impossible to make an x86-compatible CPU without a
    licence, as many ISA features are patented. Intel and AMD have a
    cross-licencing agreement regarding x86 (any x86-related patents that Intel
    gets AMD can use and vice versa), and various licencing agreements exist
    with other companies regarding x86 as well (IBM, Via, Transmeta, probably a
    few others). The ones that I know of require per-CPU royalty payments to
    Intel.

    This cross-licencing with AMD is suspected to be part of the reason Intel
    was/is throwing so much money at Itanium to keep it afloat. If IA64 becomes
    more widespread than x86, they have AMD over a barrel since the
    cross-licencing agreements don't allow AMD to create an IA64 CPU.
    Unsurprisingly, AMD reacted with x86-64, and so far IA64 is showing no signs
    of an imminent takeover ...

    [...]
     
  17. I'm working on a product line that just migrated from ARM7 to
    NIOS2. Nobody cares about the CPU core. We're using the same
    OS and same compiler. Changing CPU cores was trivial -- and it
    even involved going from big-endian to little-endian.

    Changing Ethernet controllers and various other peripherals was
    the painful part. ;)

    It's the peripherals where all the work is -- the CPU just
    doesn't matter.
     
  18. This is not entirely true. A patent _and more money than the other guy_
    That's a particular deficiency of the US legal system. In some other relevant
    parts of the world, a patent and a small, predictable amount of money are
    quite enough.

    Jan
     
  19. I'm saying that you don't need a patent immediately. Only when you've
    got a product that works (and we agree that takes a lot more than just
    having a patent) and are ready to sell you need patents.

    However a patent means the invention is published, so anyone (say
    in a country where you didn't patent) could copy it easily. World-wide
    patents are very expensive, so most only patent in the US and UK.
    Patents are very useful when you're selling things that can be easily
    copied or reverse engineered, but they are a double-edged sword.
    Yes, without patents the IP would be unprotected. I think you agree...
    Indeed. My guess of what would happen is that everybody creates
    incompatible extensions and there is less incentive to invest into
    innovative designs as they are easily cloned. We'd still use ARM2's...
    Intel and AMD are a duopoly, and yes it's great there is fierce competition
    between them (thanks for reminding me), but that's not the subject of
    discussion. My point is that the cost of making an x86 clone is far higher
    than making an ARM clone, so protection is more important for ARM.

    Fabs are an important difference: if you have a fab you sell chips to
    end users, not IP to companies with fabs. Without patents you can still
    sell chips (end users can't make chips themselves), but it becomes a
    lot harder to sell IP to a fab company (they can make the IP themselves
    and avoid royalties). Selling IP is hard with patents - and impossible
    without.
    They would say that, wouldn't they? If you read ARM's latest financial
    statements you can see that licensing of ARM7 is clearly declining fast
    (under 5% of total license revenue in 2006, down from 18% in 2002).
    That doesn't imply it won't stay popular for the next few years, but ARM9
    and Cortex-M3 are appearing fast.
    Yes, I'd like to see ARM7 and Cortex-M3 on the same process
    That's totally wrong. Improving the architecture is essential - without it
    nobody would be using ARM today. An ARM2 cannot compete with
    MIPS or any other modern CPU. So the goal is to compete, not to
    stifle competition. There is a lot of competition in the 32-bit space,
    and even within the ARM community there is fierce competition.

    The patents are there to protect the investment and clearly don't
    lock out competition - they just stop cloners.

    Wilco
     
  20. While ARM2 has been superseded by later processors, I don't think it
    is useless and not wortwhile to copy. Granted, it can not compete
    with the later ARM processors, but it is smaller, so it could be
    useful for embedded or low-cost handheld designs (or something like
    the $100 laptop). And there is a lot of software (from the Archimedes
    homecomputer) that can run on ARM2.

    I'm not saying people would rush to do it as soon as the patents run
    out, but I wouldn't rule the possibility out.

    Torben
     
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