Chip Architect

I’d just realised that I cannot call myself a chip-architect or microprocessor guru until I actually built one myself – from scratch! It’s not that I have not built a microprocessor before – I have and it is used in real-world products. However, I have not actually designed one of the most fundamental components of a microprocessor before – the instruction set!

A microprocessor’s instruction set is a set of predefined ones and zeros that have certain fixed patterns. These patterns are the most fundamental language that a microprocessor understands. You can consider them the basic vocabulary of a microprocessor. So, I think that until I have designed one myself, I cannot call myself a microprocessor guru.

Although AMD started off by making chips that use the Intel X86 instruction set, they eventually came up with their own extensions and finally designed their own AMD64 instruction set, that Intel was forced to copy instead. That’s demonstrating technical superiority right there – forcing your competition to imitate you.

So, I think that I will sit down one of these days and design an instruction set for my new processor – that I am keeping a little secret for now.

Published by

Shawn Tan

Chip Doctor, Chartered/Professional Engineer, Entrepreneur, Law Graduate.

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