Not a wonk idea

Java on the IoT: new MIPS deal dreamed up

Lucy Carey

Oracle announces plans to join forces with Imagination Technologies to bring Java to MIPS chip architecture and tune Java to work with PowerVR graphics.


It’s been an IoT-centric week in Oracle news, with the release of a new JSR draft for the Java EE 8 Platform on Tuesday, followed by yesterday’s announcement that the software giant would be aligning with Imagination Technologies to rev-up Java for embedded and the Internet of Things.

The semiconductor R&D and IP licensing company is also the owner of the PowerVP GPU and MIPS micro-architectures – the latter of which forms the main vessel for collaboration. MIPS (or to use its full title: Microprocessor without Interlocked Pipeline Stages, aka the Pepsi to ARM’s respective Coke) is a diminutive chip with a limited instruction set. Due to the minuteness of MIPS, it’s ideal for the sort of embedded tech required to bring devices online, such as in trendy wearables and other buzzy IoT paraphernalia.

Oracle has been vocal about its plans for an IoT steeped in Java, and this latest venture is an ideal way of furthering its reach into the sector. The JDK and Java SE Embedded have now been made available for 32-bit and 64-bit MIPS chip architecture, and the plan is for three different configurations to be made available for porting and optimizing Java for MIPS for embedded and server-side applications

Nandini Ramani, VP of Oracle’s IoT department, commented; “The MIPS architecture is widely used in networking, embedded and other key markets. We are excited to see the differentiated feature set that Imagination has laid out in its roadmap for MIPS, and we are seeing increasing demand for optimized Java support for MIPS.”

Although blueprints are still being drawn-up, for now it’s expected that the initial port will be Java SE Embedded 8 for 32-bit MIPS R2 embedded SoCs. This is tentatively slated for release in 2015, though there will be an extended early access program ahead of this. After this, there will be support for 32-bit MIPS R6 in Java SE Embedded 8, as well as a 64-bit MIPS R6 port, which is likely to be a more general-purpose JDK 8 port for servers and network equipment.

The two parties are also working  to achieve improved compatibility between Java and Imagination’s Power VR graphics. Oracle will introduce JavaFX support for the PowerVR GPU family, initially zoning in on headful embedded SoCs.

Imagination Technologies will also be joining the colossal Java community and other like-minded parties in collaborating with Oracle to help establish Java standards for the world of interconnected devices. Historically, MIPS has suffered from fragmentation issues, and this partnership comes as part of its wider efforts to unify and stabilize its tools across the board.


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