Metaflow - Lightning/Thunder SPARC designs, x86 designs

Mark Smotherman. Last updated February 2011.

Metaflow (company homepage as of 1999)

Influence of Metaflow on x86 designs

Bruce Lightner writes:

Metaflow was the pioneer in the application of out-of-order, speculative instruction execution to both RISC and CISC (i.e., Intel 80x86) microprocessors. In fact we created most of the terms now used to describe this then novel, but now commonplace, microarchitecture. A paper I co-authored and published in 1991 ("The Metaflow Architecture", IEEE Micro, vol. 11, No. 3, June 1991) describing our inventions is called out as "prior art" in 265 granted U.S. patents (as of July 2000). Metaflow's (and my) first patent (US5487156), filed in 1990 was used by Intel as part of it's famous August 1997 patent infringement counter claim against DEC. (A total of 178 of Intel's U.S. microprocessor patents reference our prior work, as of July 2000...growing at a rate of about two new references per month.)

Patents on Metaflow techniques


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