Sun freezes plans for UK Java design centre

Sun freezes plans for UK Java design centre
Richard Ball A Cambridge-based Java chip design centre has been put on hold and may even be cancelled by Sun Microelectronics. The company admits that after announcing the centre in May last year, it found setting such a facility up was more difficult than anticipated. The centre was to have employed a small number of processor design engineers, managed from California. “The centre was announced before the details had been sorted,” admitted Joe Gillach, director of international marketing at Sun Microelectronics. The problems Sun has encountered include a worldwide shortage of engineers and the difficulty of designing hardware and software over sites spread across the world. “Dividing software tasks is never easy,” said Gillach. Peter Harverson, general manager of Sun Microelectronics in Europe, agreed: “We’ve been reviewing our whole development strategy. One of our main problems is finding enough engineers.” Gillach added: “The number of microprocessor engineers who understand Java is fairly small. In Europe there are some Java capable engineers, but they are limited in number.” Setting up a Cambridge centre would involve building a training programme and a mentoring system overseen from California. “We’re coming towards the end of that evaluation,” said Gillach. A final decision whether to set up the Cambridge centre is due in the next two months. Harverson added: “I’m not saying whether its on or off at the moment.” The centre was originally envisaged as a generic design house for microJava and picoJava cores. Since then the market has changed, said Gillach, and centres like Cambridge could be aimed at developing products for specific market segments. Examples include networking and consumer equipment.


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