The Credit Balance

The Credit Balance

We discovered this unusual chemical balance on several versions of early MIPS R2000 and R3000 RISC microprocessors. The only interpretation that we have for these balances is that credit for the mask design is equally balanced between designers with initials "DF" and "EH". There is also a set of initials located at the "center" of the balance that appears to be either "MPW", "MAW", or "MRW". These chips also contain several other sets of initials, probably from mask designers, but they are scattered across the surface of the integrated circuits and are not associated with any other "silicon doodling".

Several emails from chip designer Ed Hudson and Lani Wageman, the Mask Tooling Manager at Zilog, have enlightened us about credits on these MIPS processors. The initials "DF" and "EH" stand for Danny Freitas and Ed Hudson, two of the circuit designers and critical team members of the R2000/R3000 microprocessor series. "MAW" refers to Michael A. Wageman (mask designer extraordinaire, as we are told) who drew 90% of the chips' layout in 1984. The balance arises from the fact that Danny, Ed, and Michael implemented all of the circuits and most of the layout on these chips.

Other initials from critical team members that reside on the chip include:

  • TJR - Tom J. Riordan (currently president and CEO of QED, Inc.)

  • CH - Craig Hansen who was director of MIPS architecture at the time and is now at MicroUnity.

  • RM - Roger March, a CAD engineer for Silicon Graphics.

  • SP - Steve A Przyblyski, a private consultant from Stanford University.

  • LC - Les Crudele, a 68020 Motorola processor architect and now PowerPC director at Motorola.

  • JK - Junior Kinsel, a logic design engineer now at QED.

  • JM - John Moussouris, a MIPS founder, now at MicroUnity.

  • JM (another) - John Mashey, a UNIX architecture expert.

  • JH - John Hennesey from Stanford, Hennesey, and Patterson.

  • SS - Skip Stritter, a MIPS founder and early Motorola 68000 microarchitect.

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