At issue is United States Patent No. 5,781,752 entitled "Table Based Data Speculation Circuit for Parallel Processing Computer." Computer scientists Andreas Moshovos, Scott Breach, Terani Vijaykumar, and Gurindar Sohi invented the technology while at the University of Wisconsin - Madison.
The patent's abstract details a process for allowing quicker execution of processor instructions:
A predictor circuit permits advanced execution of instructions depending for their data on previous instructions by predicting such dependencies based on previous mis-speculations detected at the final stages of processing.
According to the foundation's complaint, the researchers' work "has been recognized as a major milestone in the field of computer microprocessor architecture/design." Sohi, the group's leader, was given the Eckert-Mauchly Award — "the computer architecture community's most prestigious award" — for the work contained in the patent, the filing says.