Milestones:SPARC RISC Architecture Introduction, 1987

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SPARC RISC Architecture, 1987


Sun Microsystems introduced SPARC (Scalable Processor Architecture) RISC (Reduced Instruction-Set Computing) in 1987. Building upon UC Berkeley RISC and Sun compiler and operating system developments, SPARC architecture was highly adaptable to evolving semiconductor, software, and system technology and user needs. The architecture delivered the highest performance, scalable workstations and servers, for engineering, business, Internet, and cloud computing applications.

Street address(es) and GPS coordinates of the Milestone Plaque Sites

37.3924943, -121.9560099, 4040 Palm Drive, Santa Clara, CA 95054

Details of the physical location of the plaque

Mounted on a wall in a publicly-accessible building on the Oracle Campus

How the intended plaque site is protected/secured

Oracle's campus is secured and is protected as a historical site.

Historical significance of the work

  • Is the platform for semiconductor IC design and development
  • Delivered a new level of performance that enabled a myriad of new applications
  • Cost effective technology made available to commercial uses in volume
  • Open architecture adapted by multiple companies allowing independent innovations
  • SPARC was standardized as IEEE Std. 1754
  • Backward compatiblity
  • Compiler, OS and SPARC architecture and systems evolved together to provide differentiated performance.
  • Pioneering the fabless semiconductor microprocessor manufacturing process

Features that set this work apart from similar achievements

  • Delivered performance
  • Optimizing for and delivering total system solutions (OS, Compiler, CPU, Systems)
  • Maniacal focus on SPARC systems - all wood behind one arrow

Significant references

Supporting materials


Media:1987 Computer system news 10MIPs.pdf

Media:1987 March 10 San Jose Mercury News - Unisys-Sun lic.pdf

Media:1987 Oct Wall Street Journal - Xerox-SPARC lic.pdf

Media:1988 - LSI mfg.pdf

Media:1991 SPARC Anant Robert Paper.pdf

Also see 8 references in IEEE publications in the above paper.