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A gender neutral pronoun. The equivalent of "his" or "her".

An extension to the SPARC architecture. VIS stands for Visual Instruction Set, and is similiar to things like MMX and 3DNow!. It essentially adds fixed-width hardware SIMD extensions, useful for things like MPEG decoding. Sun's marketing page for VIS mentions the following applications:

How many of these are really relevant depends on how skeptical you are of the marketing department. For example, cryptography and DSP applications seem to cover most of the places in networking and telecom that SIMD could be used in. Whatever.

One mildly interesting thing about VIS is that Sun has written a library called mediaLib which takes care of common graphics operations for you, using VIS if it is available on the system (or normal SISD techniques if it is not).

VIS was added to SPARC in the SPARCv9 (aka UltraSPARC) revision of the architecture. Thus it is not available on any 32-bit SPARC system. However, VIS can be used in 32 bit applications running on UltraSPARC systems. A few additional instructions (proprietary to Sun's SPARC implementations) were added in the UltraSPARC III.

You can find out more about VIS by reading http://www.sun.com/processors/manuals/805-1394.pdf, which also has a nice high-level overview of the UltraSPARC I/II design.

Sun's list of VIS application areas was found at http://www.sun.com/processors/vis/

Vis (?), n.


Force; power.

2. Law (a)

Physical force.


Moral power.

Principle of vis viva Mech., the principle that the difference between the aggregate work of the accelerating forces of a system and that of the retarding forces is equal to one half the vis viva accumulated or lost in the system while the work is being done. -- Vis impressa [L.] Mech., force exerted, as in moving a body, or changing the direction of its motion; impressed force. -- Vis inertiae. [L.] (a) The resistance of matter, as when a body at rest is set in motion, or a body in motion is brought to rest, or has its motion changed, either in direction or in velocity. (b) Inertness; inactivity. Vis intertiae and inertia are not strictly synonymous. The former implies the resistance itself which is given, while the latter implies merely the property by which it is given. -- Vis mortua [L.] Mech., dead force; force doing no active work, but only producing pressure. -- Vis vitae, ∨ Vis vitalis [L.] Physiol., vital force. -- Vis viva [L.] Mech., living force; the force of a body moving against resistance, or doing work, in distinction from vis mortua, or dead force; the kinetic energy of a moving body; the capacity of a moving body to do work by reason of its being in motion. See Kinetic energy, in the Note under Energy. The term vis viva is not usually understood to include that part of the kinetic energy of the body which is due to the vibrations of its molecules.


© Webster 1913.

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