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I would certainly agree that MIPS, at least as reference architecture, is an very important part of all modern architectures. The Patterson/Hennesey book [1] is absolutely require reading for many Computer Science/Electrical Engineering/Computer Engineering departments (even my state school required it) in undergrad, and most certainly required in graduate school when Computer Architecture turns to pipelining, cache structures and hierarchies, micro-architecture vs. macro-architecture, instruction set design, etc. Without MIPS, there isn't a baseline architecture to talk about in these courses as all other commercial architectures quickly begin to show their biases and optimization strategies.

[1] http://www.amazon.com/Computer-Architecture-Quantitative-App...

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