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The University of Manchester Celebrates the Birth of the Modern Computer June 18, 1998. Gordon Bell Microsoft Corporation. 1948… the stored program. “value of the order codes” 1958 one level stores ideas and technology transfer--- influencing the rest of the world

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the university of manchester celebrates the birth of the modern computer june 18 1998

The University of Manchester Celebrates the Birth of the Modern ComputerJune 18, 1998

Gordon Bell

Microsoft Corporation

1948 the stored program
1948… the stored program
  • “value of the order codes”
  • 1958 one level stores
  • ideas and technology transfer---influencing the rest of the world
  • 1998 the best is yet to come
the stored program concept
The stored program concept...

“the most exciting time was June 1948 when the first machine worked. Nothing could ever compare with that.” --Kilburn, 1992

anyone who has ever built a “universal” hardware or software machine has had this feeling...

manchester logic and memory
Manchester logic and memory

“Random access” memory got the computer started

on order code compatibility and program investment
On order code compatibility and program investment

“when a machine was finished, and a number of subroutines in use, the order code could not be altered without causing a great deal of trouble. There would be almost as much capital sunk in the library of sub-routines as the machine itself, and builders of new machines in the future might wish to make use of the same order code as an existing machine in order that the sub-routines could be taken over without modification” --- Wilkes ‘49

slide10
Three implications… holds for all order codes including machines, operating systems, databases, languages, and some apps
  • Very high cost of similar computers and fatal flaw for most designs e.g. 100 minicomputer companies
  • The Unix Cartel… high priced apps and systems, locked-in users
  • Standards driven “virtuous cycle”
the law of program and data inertia sustains platforms
The law of program and data inertia sustains platforms!
  • The investment in programs and processes to use them, and data exceed hardware costs
  • The cost to switch among platforms e.g. IBM mainframe, VMS, a VendorIX, or Windows/NT is determined by the data and programs
  • The goals of hardware suppliers areuniqueness to differentiate and lock-in
  • The goals of software/database suppliers are: to differentiate and lock-in andoperate on as many platforms as possible in order to be not tied to a hardware vendor
software economics bill s law
Software Economics: Bill’s Law

Fixed_cost

Price

Marginal _cost

=

+

Units

  • Bill Joy’s law (Sun): don’t write software for <100,000 platforms @$10 million engineering expense, $1,000 price
  • Bill Gate’s law:don’t write software for <1,000,000 platforms @$10M engineering expense, $100 price
  • Examples:
    • UNIX versus Windows NT: $3,500 versus $500
    • Oracle versus SQL-Server: $100,000 versus $6,000
    • No spreadsheet or presentation pack on UNIX/VMS/...
  • Commoditization of base software and hardware
the virtuous economic cycle that drives the pc industry
The Virtuous Economic Cycle that drives the PC industry

Competition

Volume

Standards

Utility/value

Innovation

english electric deuce commercialisation of npl pilot ace
English Electric Deuce… Commercialisation of NPL Pilot Ace
  • Based on Turing’s design - Harry Huskey c1947
  • After attending Turing’s NPL Lectures in 1947 Kilburn was not to build a computing machine “like that”
  • Micro-coded instructions. Direct action … bits controlled hardware. Lots of bits to chose and get right!
  • Paging used … matrix packages,
  • SODA… our desire to make it more“programmable”, and convert it into an IBM 650
  • Used by Fortran and George (for KDF9)
manchester exports
Manchester exports
  • Stored program concept “existence proof”
  • The first generation memory
  • Manchester phase encoding
  • B tubes aka index registers…
    • Pegasus’ general registers...
  • Extracodes
  • Paging & the one level store
  • Programmed controlled I/O
  • ICL architecture, Dataflow, Amulet,