Artifact Details


MIPS oral history panel sessions

Catalog Number





Two panel discussions trace the startup and success of MIPS Computer Systems (later MIPS Technologies), a fabless microprocessor company founded in 1984. The first panel session with Skip Stritter, John Hennessy, John Moussouris, and Larry Weber describes how they built an exciting, leading edge company by capitalizing on several important technology trends of the day: RISC architecture concepts emerging from Stanford, Berkeley, and IBM, a new VLSI design methodology popularized by Carver Mead and Lynn Conwsy, the UNIX operating system from Bell Labs, along with the emerging trend of fables semiconductor companies. They describe the excitement and challenges of moving from a raw startup to a functioning company with a leading edge product.

The second panel, involving Skip Stritter, Bob Miller, John Mashey, and Joe DiNucci, takes over the story in 1987 when Bob Miller took over as CEO. They describe how the company transitioned from a chip development operation to a public company eventually purchased by Silicon Graphics for nearly a half-billion dollars. They discuss the challenges of landing a key customer, Digital Equipment Corp, an eventual tie with Microsoft, the challenges of following a successful first product with new ones, and the decision to merge with Silicon Graphics in 1992. MIPS was eventually spun out as a separate company again and is now successfully operating under the name MIPS Technologies.

A third interview with Bob Miller traces the founding and eventual demise of the Advanced Computing Environment (ACE) initiative that was an attempt by MIPS to create and standard UNIX API around the MIPS architecture. This standard would allow application programs written for any system using the MIPS architecture to run on any other ACE compatible system.




DiNucci, Joe, panelist
Hennessy, John, panelist
Malone, Michael S., moderator
Mashey, John, panelist
Miller, Bob, panelist
Moussouris, John, panelist
Remacle, Rosemary, interviewer
Richardson, David, videographer
Stritter, Edward (Skip), panelist
Weber, Larry, panelist


Computer History Museum

Place of Publication

Mountain View, California


56 p.; 69 p.




semiconductor history; RISC; MIPS; CISC; Silicon Graphics Inc. (SGI); Workstations; UNIX; VLSI; foundry; fabless; Mead, Carver; Conway, Lynn; VLSI design; Stanford; Berkeley; Bell Labs; Advanced Computing Environment (ACE)

Collection Title

Oral history collection

Lot Number