An introduction to the history of the microprocessor

Companies compete intensely while learning from one another about changing markets and technologies through informal communication and collaboration.

An introduction to the history of the microprocessor

Team Personnel in alphabetical order Allen E. I had been waiting for years to see chips without packages, and this was the closest thing I had ever seen. A DSBGA "package" is nothing more than a "bare die" with a grid of solder balls welded to the pads so it can be flipped upside down and soldered to a printed circuit board like any other surface-mount device.

But what I found more inspiring was that an entire logic family was now available with one gate per package.

History of personal computers - Wikipedia

Now a printed circuit could be laid out just like the schematic or And the end result, not being microscopic, would be easy for anyone to see and better appreciate. Knowing that robotic "pick-and-place" machines were now the standard way of assembling electronics, and made the whole idea practical to produce, I started thinking.

What could I build out of this "retro," one-gate-per-chip technology? Some sort of microprocessor seemed like a natural. Besides, reproducing a commercial microprocessor, rather than re-inventing my own, would allow me to use existing software and existing manuals, data sheets, wisdom of the ages, etc.

The first microprocessor that came to mind was the Intel MCS-4 Microcomputer Set 4 was the name Intel gave to the chip family for its commercial introduction in November In search of the circuit So that was settled, but how to get the schematics? Joe, as I called him, had also brought home other goodies from Intel, among them an individually packaged C register file chip--undoubtedly an engineering sample.

During this research spree I also learned that the Intel Archives and the Intel Museum were somehow connected. This helped me turn a notion into a plan: Around the same time I started looking for vintage software to run on the giant replica.

Both Faggin and Hoff wrote back, Faggin with a general offer of advice, and Hoff with software for a based video game design that Intel pitched to a potential customer.

At this time, I was not optimistic about gaining access to schematics or the mask artwork that was used to create the original wafers, and so I began devising a "Plan B.

An introduction to the history of the microprocessor

The visit was amazingly brief and nearly a complete success. Faggin picked up three large engineering drawings on vullum, a translucent plastic sheeting, unrolled them one-by-one, and declared within 30 seconds, "Yes.

This is all of them. The drawings are drawn just like the chip layout. Besides the fact that there are fewer than a dozen production PFs known to still be in existence, the significance of this particular relic was that it has socketed ROMs.

This might allow us to recover the original calculator software, if we could construct a custom-mode ROM reader for the unusual ROMs compatible with the family.

Reverse Engineering the schematics Once back home, I sent the schematics to Brian and Barry Silverman, who immediately started trying to figure out how the worked in detail. To aid in their quest for understanding, they entered the schematics using Dia, an open-source diagram editor similar to Microsoft Visio, wrote some scripts to translate the Dia schematics into a simulatable netlist, and built themselves a "zero propagation delay" transistor-level simulator.

The end result was a beautifully animated simulation of the running a very short test program running at a clock speed of maybe Hz Meanwhile I continued to develop the ROM reader, periodically sending Brian and Barry my results to see if the binary data I was extracting yielded valid code.

After some struggles with the unusual voltage levels used by the ROMs, we succeeded in extracting a significant fraction of the Busicom software from the ROMs Faggin had found in his basement. The bad news was that there were large strings of zeros in three out of four of the calculator ROMs.

We would have to find another source. Fred also traced the wiring harness to the calculator keyboard.

1600 to 1900

Mission accomplished with only a minor casualty, a broken pin on one of the ROMs. Within a month, they had crafted an instruction-level simulator of the as well as simulated Busicom hardware, and by Januarythey had a completely working simulation of the Busicom PF printing calculator.

Verilog simulation of the In parallel, Fred was working on his own schematic capture using a commercial CAD package, and was well on his way to automatically deriving a functional Verilog model of the to verify that the schematics were correct.

Funding and Exhibit design This is around the time that the project funding from the Intel Museum was approved, and work began in earnest to design the physical exhibit. Intel brought in their marketing agency to design the overall look of the exhibit.

After only a few months of behind-the-scenes design work and weekly conference calls, the talented design team turned my back-of-the-envelope sketches into an attractive exhibit worthy of a museum.

Letting visitors "look under the hood" One of my main goals for the museum exhibit was to allow museum visitors to gain an appreciation for the "machinery under the hood," the inner workings of the and the Busicom calculator.Introduction of HP desk calculator: T J WEatson & IBM granted opatent for the DRAM: February IBM tests a 8in floppy disc: 18th July.

An introduction to the history of the microprocessor

MCS-4 Family Worlds first processor to be etched into a single piece of silicon. ( die core). The Microprocessor. Who actually invented the single-chip microprocessor? Trying to answer to this question, we will stumble upon again into the same story as with the inventions of the integrated circuit, the transistor, and many others gadgets, reviewed in this barnweddingvt.coml people got the idea almost at the same time, but only one got the all glory, and he was the engineer Ted Hoff (together.

s. In , TI introduces its first commercial single-chip digital signal processors (DSP) and produces a microprocessor optimized for high-speed digital signal processing.

The Z3, an early computer built by German engineer Konrad Zuse working in complete isolation from developments elsewhere, uses 2, relays, performs floating point binary arithmetic, and . The situation was still a one on one game: a problem needed to be solved thus a machine was built.

(Pascal, Babbage, Scheultz & Son) And when some sort of instruction was needed a sequence was designed or written and transferred to either cards or mechanical aids .

Computers | Timeline of Computer History | Computer History Museum