Sun Microsystems has revealed plans for a processor with a radical new architecture designed to handle the enormous streams of visual and audio data expected in the multimedia age.
Dubbed MAJC (pronounced “magic”) for “microprocessor architecture for Java computing”, the new design challenges Intel and other chip makers in the fast-growing market for communications and media-processing chips.
The MAJC chip is based on an unusual design that essentially turns a single chip into a parallel-processing system, enabling it to display complex graphics and handle digital-communications tasks at extremely high speeds. Within several years, Sun claims, it should be possible to generate an interactive computer-animated movie like “Toy Story” in real time using a single MAJC chip – a task that took roomfuls of graphics servers several weeks. In addition, MAJC should yield a family of microprocessors that are easy to program using Sun’s Java language, that can be used in everything from cheap consumer devices to Internet server computers.
Sun will disclose the details of what it calls “the most important semiconductor architecture of the next 20 years” on Aug. 16.
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