A year back when Robert Garner sent an invite for the 30th anniversary of SPARC, little did I expect or believe events that transpired later would happen. I did this post on history of SPARC and its impact to the computing world and speculated on the future of computing.
Since then – on September 1′ 2017, Oracle decided to terminate all SPARC development efforts and laid off the entire development team. 30 years and perhaps 3000+ world class engineers and >$5B in R&D spend over 30 years, >15 million CPUs built and delivered in Systems from Sun (generating >$100B in revenue) – SPARC flamed out. RIP SPARC.
More significant was one of key member of the initial SPARC development (Anant Agrwal) at Sun, who led the development of SPARC from its initial design through two key inflection points (1984-2002) left 2000+ of his world class engineers and his family on May 28th. A small sample of the Tsunami wave
- 2000+ careers were launched during his tenure.
- 10+ companies were founded by the engineers who worked under his leadership.
- Processors from 1.3uM to 0.65uM CMOS (a decade of lithography feature) with a healthy mix of CMOS, ECL and even GaAS
- 1000+ Patents created by the team
- Many industry firsts –
- RISC 32 bit (1987).
- Microprocessor in a gate array (1987)
- Microprocessor SoC (1991)
- 64 bit processor (1995)
- Glueless SMP
- VIS (multi-media extension to FPU) (1995)
- multi-core & multi-threading (2001)
His departure marks the bookend of the both his life and SPARC – how tragically co-incidental and a reflection of the wake he left. A befitting bio of Anant Agrawal is posted here at the computer history museum.
Sharing a poignant image of his family holding his hands around the time of his departure.
R I P