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A Very Short History of Computing, Microprocessors and Microcontrollers A selection of slides on just a few key events in early computing history. Sandra I. Woolley Electronic, Electrical and Computer Engineering. The World’s First Computer Colossus.

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sandra i woolley electronic electrical and computer engineering

A Very Short History of Computing, Microprocessors and MicrocontrollersA selection of slides on just a few key events in early computing history

Sandra I. Woolley

Electronic, Electrical and Computer Engineering

the world s first computer colossus
The World’s First Computer Colossus
  • Colossus was built at Bletchley Park during WWII.

  • Bletchley Park was a major code-breaking site. Alan Turing and others worked on cracking the German Engima machine codes.
  • Colossus was built to decipher the Enigma codes.
  • Bletchley Park is open today as a museum. It includes a computer museum and a working replica of Colossus.

Top the Colossus computer,

Bottom left Bletchley Park and

Bottom right an Enigma machine.

computing at manchester after wwii mark i
Computing at Manchester after WWIIMark I
  • The University of Manchester made a considerable contribution to the development of computing. They produced the first stored program computer, the first floating point machine, the first transistor computer and the first computer to use virtual memory.

Right Images of Mark 1 the computer built at Manchester University after WWII

Above Kilburn and Williams at the Manchester Mark 1 Console

electrical engineering manchester university 1950
Electrical EngineeringManchester University 1950

Professor F.C. Williams

Tommy Kilburn

the first department of computer science
The First Department of Computer Science
  • Tommy Kilburn went on to set up a new Department of Computer Scienceat Manchester, with 12 staff.
  • The new department was housed in a different building.
  • The preparation of a new syllabus was of course a major undertaking.
  • In October 1965 the first intake of 30 first year students arrived.

1948 Professor Tommy Kilburn 1998

eniac electronic numerical integrator and computer u s army computer @ university of pennsylvania
ENIAC (Electronic Numerical Integrator and Computer)U.S. Army Computer @ University of Pennsylvania
  • ENIAC contained approximately 18,000 vacuum tubes, 70,000 resistors, 10,000 capacitors, and 6,000 switches.
  • It was 100 feet long, 10 feet high, and 3 deep. It consumed 140 kilowatts of power.

ENIAC on a ChipENIAC-on-a-ChipMoore School of Electrical Engineering, University of Pennsylvania

Size: 7.44mm x 5.29mm; 174,569 transistors; 0.5 um CMOS technology (triple metal layer).

the transistor
The Transistor
  • John Bardeen, Walter Brattain and William Shockley discovered the transistor effect and developed the first device in December 1947, while the three were members of the technical staff at Bell Laboratories in Murray Hill, NJ. They were awarded the Nobel Prize in physics in 1956.
  • Developed as a replacement for bulky and inefficient vacuum tubes and mechanical relays, the transistor later revolutionized the entire electronics world.
  • 1950's: Shockley leaves Bell Labs to establish Shockley Labs in California. Some of the best young electronic engineers and solid-state physicists come to work with him. These include Robert Noyce and Gordon Moore.
  • 1969: Intel was a tiny start-up company in Santa Clara, headed by Noyce and Moore.
  • 1970: Busicom placed an order with Intel for custom calculator chips. Intel had no experience of custom-chip design and sets outs to design a general-purpose solution.
  • 1971: Intel have problems translating architectures into working chip designs - the project runs late.
  • Faggin joins Intel and solves the problems in weeks.
  • The result is the Intel 4000 family (later renamed MCS-4, Microcomputer System 4-bit), comprising the 4001 (2k ROM), the 4002 (320-bit RAM), the 4003 (10-bit I/O shift-register) and the 4004, a 4-bit CPU.
intel 4004
Intel 4004
  • Introduced in 1971, the Intel 4004 "Computer-on-a-Chip" was a2300 transistor device capable of performing 60,000 operations persecond.
  • It was the first-ever single-chip microprocessor and had approximatelythe same performance as the 18,000 vacuum tube ENIAC. The 4-bitIntel C4004 ran at a Clock Speed of 108 KiloHertz.
the intel 4004
The Intel 4004

Federico Faggin designed the Intel 4004 processor. His initials were printed on the circuit.

the busicom calculator
The Busicom Calculator
  • The Busicom calculator used five Intel 4001’s, two 4002’s, three 4003’s and the 4004 CPU

The original engineering prototype of the Busicom desk-top printing calculator, the world’s first commercial product to use a microprocessor.

intel 8008
Intel 8008
  • 1972: Faggin begins work on an 8-bit processor, the Intel 8008. The prototype has serious problems with electrical charge leaking out of its memory circuits. Device physics, circuit design and layout are important new skills. The 8008 chip layout is completely redesigned and the chip is released.
  • There is a sudden surge in microprocessor interest.
  • Intel's 8008 is well-received, but system designers want increased speed, easier interfacing, and more I/O and instructions. The improved version, produced by Faggin, is the 8080.
  • Faggin leaves Intel to start his own company Zilog, who later produce the Z80.
federico faggin zilog
Federico Faggin : Zilog
  • Zilog produced the 3.5MHz Zilog Z80 (a very popular processor taught in many universities)
  • … and, later, a 16-bit Z8000. Another great design but Zilog struggled to provide good support, they were a new and inexperienced company and had only a few hundred employees; at this time Intel had over 10 thousand.
the zilog z80
The Zilog Z80
  • The Z80 microprocessor is an 8 bit CPU with a 16 bit address bus capable of direct access of 64k of memory space.
  • It was based on the 8080; it has a large instruction set.
  • Programming features include an accumulator and six eight bit registers that can be paired as 3-16 bit registers. In addition to the general registers, a stack-pointer, program-counter, and two index (memory pointers) registers are provided.
  • It had a 40 pin DIP package manufactured in A, B, and C models, differing only in maximum clock speed. It was also manufactured as a stand-alone microcontroller with various configurations of on-chip RAM and EPROM.
  • It proves useful for low cost control applications.
early microcontrollers
Early Microcontrollers
  • 1974: Motorola (originally car radio manufacturers) had introduced transistors in the 1950s and decided to make a late but serious effort in the microprocessor market. They announced their 8-bit 6800 processor. Though bulky, and fraught with production problems, their 6800 had a good design.
  • 1975: General Motors approach Motorola about a custom-built derivative of the 6800. Motorola's long experience with automobile manufacturers pays off and Ford follow GM's lead.
  • 1976: Intel introduce an 8-bit microcontroller, the MCS-48. They ship 251,000 in this year.
  • 1980: Intel introduce the 8051, an 8-bit microcontroller with on-board EPROM memory. They ship 22 million and 91 million in 1983.
early computer games
Early Computer Games
  • 1972: The video game industry gets underway as Nolan Bushnell starts his own company, Syzygy, later renamed ATARI.
  • Bushnell had studied the first 8-bit microprocessors and uses them to duplicate an arcade version of the computer games he had used on his University's computers.
  • His first attempt at a video game, Computer Space, is 'too complicated' and fails. In his next attempt he decides to "build a game so mindless and self-evident that a monkey or its equivalent (a drunk in a bar) could instantly understand it".
  • Depressingly, PONG, the electronic equivalent of Ping-Pong, was a great success.

Computer Space – the first arcade video game

early computers
Early Computers
  • 1975: An advert in Popular Electronics describes an $800 ready-to-build computer kit based on the Intel 8080. At this time the smallest commercial computers are selling for $30,000.
  • Steve Wozniak builds a computer in his garage with a $20 8-bit processor from MOS Tech. Inc. (absorbed by Commodore in 1977). This was the prototype for the Apple 1.
  • 1978: Intel announces the 16 bit, 16-bit bus 8086, based on the 8080; it has 10 times the performance.
the intel 8086
The Intel 8086
  • 29,000 Transistors
  • Clock Speeds: 5, 8 and 10 MHz
  • Introduced: June 8,1978
  • Approx. 10 times the performance of the 8080
early computers21
Early Computers
  • 1979: Motorola also announce a 16-bit 68000. Indisputably, the best microprocessor on the market. It would be used in the Apple Macintosh launched in 1984.
  • Intel look seriously at the competition (Motorola and Zilog) and implement 'Operation CRUSH' - a huge campaign with a focused and trained work force providing customer support, complete solutions and long-term product support.
  • CRUSH proves an excellent strategy and the 8086 becomes the de facto standard. This success helps finance additions to their product range, one of which is the bus width reduced 8088, a 16-bit (8-bit bus) microprocessor.

The early Apple Macintosh

the ibm pc
  • 1981: IBM, having seen Apple's success recognise a new personal computer market. They choose Intel over Motorola and Zilog (and their own proprietary processors) because of Intel's long-term commitment to the 8086 line.
  • IBM selects the Intel 8088 for their PC, introduced in August.
  • Intel bring out the 16-bit 80286 for the IBM PC AT but it has weaknesses, most notably in virtual memory support. The newest 'killer' application software, Microsoft Windows, needs a more powerful processor.
  • IBM’s service to the computer industry was to make the PC 'open', this meant clone makers could compete with IBM-compatible PCs. New companies such as Compaq and Dell (both from Texas) fare well, as do South Korea's Leading Edge and Taiwan's Acer who produce PCs with AT performance at half the price.
  • 1985: Intel announce the 80386 a 32-bit microprocessor, of 275,000 transistors. It was the world's best performing processor at this time.
  • 1986 Compaq are the first company to bring out a 386 PC. IBM's 386 PC, the PS/2, does not come out for another year.
moore s law
Moore’s Law
  • Dr. Gordon E. Moore co-founded Intel in 1968.
  • His observation that number of transistors doubled every 2 years became known as “Moore’s Law”
transistors per processor
Transistors per Processor

Moore's original paper

more at microprocessor history http www eee bham ac uk woolleysi teaching microhistory htm

More at ... Microprocessor history

and further reading:

The Microprocessor - A Biography, Mike MALONE, Springer-Verlag 1995, 0-387-94342-0

Sandra Woolley

Electronic, Electrical and Computer Engineering

a quick quiz some questions for you to try
A Quick QuizSome questions for you to try
  • What was the name of the world’s first computer and what was it designed to do?
  • What was the microprocessor used in the first IBM PC?
  • How did it differ from the 8008?
  • Why did Intel succeed in the PC market when the competition was better?
  • Why did car manufacturer’s prefer Motorola?
  • What were the names of the 8-bit and 16-bit Motorola and Zilog processors? (4 names required)
  • Who started ATARI and what was the name of the first successful game?
  • Who beat IBM with the 1st 386 PC on the market?