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Title: A%20Very%20Short%20History%20of%20Computing,%20Microprocessors%20and%20Microcontrollers%20A%20selection%20of%20slides%20on%20just%20a%20few%20key%20events%20in%20early%20computing%20history

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 Worlds First Computer Colossus
  • Colossus was built at Bletchley Park during WWII.
  • http//www.bletchleypark.org.uk/
  • 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. http//www.bletchleypark.org.uk/
Computing at Manchester after WWII Mark 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
Professor F.C. Williams
Tommy Kilburn
The First Computer Program
The First Department of Computer Science
  • Tommy Kilburn went on to set up a new Department
    of Computer Science at Manchester, with 12 staff.
  • The new department was housed in a different
  • 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 http//www.compu
ENIAC (Electronic Numerical Integrator and
Computer) U.S. Army Computer _at_ University of
  • 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 Chip   ENIAC-on-a-Chip Moore School of
Electrical Engineering, University of
Pennsylvania http//www.ee.upenn.edu/jan/eniacpro
Size 7.44mm x 5.29mm 174,569 transistors 0.5
um CMOS technology (triple metal layer).
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
  • 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
  • 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
  • Introduced in 1971, the Intel 4004
    "Computer-on-a-Chip" was a 2300 transistor device
    capable of performing 60,000 operations
    per second.
  • It was the first-ever single-chip microprocessor
    and had approximately the same performance as the
    18,000 vacuum tube ENIAC. The 4-bit Intel C4004
    ran at a Clock Speed of 108 KiloHertz.

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

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

The original engineering prototype of the
Busicom desk-top printing calculator, the worlds
first commercial product to use a
microprocessor. http//www.computerhistory.org/exh
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
  • 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
  • Faggin leaves Intel to start his own company
    Zilog, who later produce the Z80.

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 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
  • 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

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
  • 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
  • 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

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 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
  • 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.
  • IBMs 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
  • 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.

Moores Law
  • Dr. Gordon E. Moore co-founded Intel in 1968.
  • His observation that number of transistors
    doubled every 2 years became known as Moores

Transistors per Processor
Moore's original paper http//www.intel.com/resea
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
  • What was the name of the worlds first computer
    and what was it designed to do?
  • What was the microprocessor used in the first IBM
  • How did it differ from the 8008?
  • Why did Intel succeed in the PC market when the
    competition was better?
  • Why did car manufacturers 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?
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