Jim Nicholas joins Silexica’s board of directors

Jim Nicholas joins Silexica’s Board of Directors and brings over 30 years of international experience in the technology industry. He has been instrumental in the evolution of processors and joins as Silexica seeks to provide programming solutions for the current wave of hardware innovations. Here he talks about his career so far.

Having experienced pioneering wave changes in the computing industry throughout my career, it seems only natural that my path has now crossed with Silexica. The earliest wave I was a part of was Systems on Chips, underpinned by IPs, being applied to every major segment. This was one of the earliest incarnations of heterogeneous compute, with consumer applications such as set top boxes, DVD and in car infotainment being the main targets.

The next wave was mobile computing, driven by the substantial consumer appetite for smart phones. IoT 1.0, significantly driven by microcontroller powered sensors/actuators, have quickly followed. And with growing demand for higher performance compute and at the very edge, proximate with sensors, coupled with more intelligence in recognition and decision making, there is AI, which in its various guises is transforming the compute landscape and in doing so, our lives.

Now we are experiencing the next wave where SOCs are becoming components of embedded supercomputer platforms. I believe this is probably the most challenging I have witnessed. Multiple applications with different models of computations running on heterogeneous compute islands is the ultimate programming challenge. Old methods simply cannot deliver and that’s why I believe SLX is perfectly positioned to support software teams. I can’t wait to get involved and would like to outline some points I feel relevant to what I have experienced and where we are as an industry at the moment.

What really makes business fun and worthwhile, for me, is creating products and services that are massively pervasive, through the transformation of the business and building a system of ecosystem partnerships with ambitious and visionary souls.

From the start (of my career) I have always been preoccupied about the efficient utilization of (often disparate) compute resources to provide meaningful products/services. I have also been fascinated about the communications between compute entities be they intra or inter chip, and between processors and people.

I have been fortunate enough to be part of pioneering wave fronts during the last three decades:

  • INMOS – parallel processing,
  • STMicroelectronics – IPs, SoCs (Mobile, DVD, STB) and Microcontrollers (the 1st generation IoT enabler).
  • ARM & Imagination Technologies– Processing IPs for every application
  • MIPS becoming leaders in processors for autonomous driving AI.

Every experience I had, even at the very first company I worked for, British Aerospace (Bae), has been valuable. I learnt about the importance of engineering processes and project management. I would use my Bae apprenticeship to understand how to have light yet effective processes for developing IPs and SoCs.

The yearning for massively pervasive impact was behind taking on the GM role in STMicroelectronics, resulting in the creation of the most successful (volume, revenue and profit) ARM-based 32-bit microcontroller family STM32 (as well as the 8-bit family, STM8).

That desire also fuelled working in ARM and subsequently Imagination, where I had the privilege to steer MIPS (BU) to become an entity that is now part of a pioneering AI company.

Systems on Chip are becoming components in complex Systems of Systems. Man-machine interactions are driving the need for sensors and actuators that in turn have specific/specialised compute requirements. The compute spectrum extending from the Cloud to the very edge (impinging on people) is driving huge investments in proprietary compute system developments.

Given these mega-trends, Silexica is best placed to bring value, accelerating time to market and reducing cost.

I am honoured to have the opportunity to help Silexica realize its potential. I believe that the company can go well beyond the current challenges we face and anticipate/address those yet to come.

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JIM NICHOLAS

Jim Nicholas was the CEO of MIPS leading the transition out of Imagination Technologies into the standalone entity acquired by Tallwood Venture Capital. Before that he was an Imagination Technologies Executive Vice President, MIPS Business Unit General Manager. Jim has held a variety of executive positions including GM of STMicroelectronics’ Microcontroller Division, VP of Marketing for ARM’s Processor Division, VP & GM of Processors Subsystems & Productivity group for ST-Ericsson & STMicroelectronics and VP Of Marketing for Toumaz Ltd. https://www.linkedin.com/in/jimenicholas/

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