back to article ARM creators Sophie Wilson and Steve Furber

Back in the late 1970s you wouldn't have guessed that this shy young Cambridge maths student named Wilson would be the seed for what has now become the hottest-selling microprocessor in the world. Ninety-five per cent of today's smartphones are built around an ARM processor. The ARM began with Wilson. Sophie Wilson. Sourc: …

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  1. This post has been deleted by a moderator

    1. This post has been deleted by a moderator

    2. James O'Brien
      Thumb Up

      Re: Who Needs Action when You Got HyperRadioProActive Words Following Heavenly Waves

      ....Holy hell your back? I have to say I have missed your posts. Its been almost too sane here lately.

      1. Ben Holmes
        WTF?

        Re: Who Needs Action when You Got HyperRadioProActive Words Following Heavenly Waves

        Sane? Sane?!

        It's been like this the entire time.

  2. Lee Taylor
    Unhappy

    Mk14

    I think you will find Ian Williamson was the original inspiration behind the MK14, but this part of the story tends to get brushed under the carpet. Even the BBC`s "Micro Men" missed this part of the story out.

  3. Mike Bell
    Boffin

    Star Designer

    Roger / Sophie WIlson is one of my all-time heroes.

    I disassembled the 6502 code in one of the BEEB's ROMs to get some insight into programming (didn't get out much in those days) and was amused to find the last five bytes contained an ASCII representation of his first name.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Star Designer

      It was the BASIC ROM. And the last six bytes contain "Roger" followed by a zero byte.

      I'm such a geek.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Star Designer

        If you pulled out the processor from a model b (IIRC) underneath it said "Bob's Board".

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Star Designer

          Bob = Nightshift silkscreen operator, BEPI factory in Galashiels.

    2. Steve Evans

      Re: Star Designer

      If you put a Beeb OS ROM into one of the sideways ROM slots (you'll need another OS ROM to get the machine to boot of course) and have a look at the area which is mapped out to the I/O ports when it is in it's usual memory location, you'll see a huge block of ASCII crediting all those involved.

      1. druck Silver badge
        Boffin

        Re: Star Designer

        There was a way to access the ROM behind the I/O areas (called Fred, Jim and Sheila) by writing to &FE34.

  4. Conrad Longmore
    Thumb Up

    I wonder..

    I wonder what would have happened if Acorn hadn't won the BBC gig. The development of the ARM processor was partly as a result of the success of the BBC micro, although by the time it came out Acorn had been bailed out by Olivetti. It's possible that ARM might have been developed anyway, but the tiny foothold it got in the market with the Acorn Archimedes range demonstrated exactly what could be done with the fast little processor..

    ..and of course, ARM processors are everywhere now.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: I wonder..

      I recall some dirty work at the crossroads too. As soon as they had got the contract, the price quoted to the BBC suddenly went up. A lot...

  5. This Side Up
    Pint

    Your phone, your tablet ...

    ... My PC.

  6. VinceH Silver badge
    Pint

    Re: Your phone, your tablet ...

    > ... My PC.

    Two on my desk. One sitting in a little box behind me somewhere. A few in the loft.

  7. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Title is not mandatory but must contain unicorns and custard

    Steve Furber was also a pretty good lecturer at the University of Manchester. I still remember my lessons in processor design from him - even if they have been next to useless IRL.

  8. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Excellent story...

    ... can't wait for tomorrow's instalment.

  9. JDX Gold badge

    Blimey

    I was just about to make a silly joke how she looks like a man in a wig, then read about how that is actually close to the truth.

    Good story (ARM, not his/her gender).

    1. A J Stiles
      Unhappy

      Re: Blimey

      Misogyny is unattractive. Trans-misogyny more so.

      1. JDX Gold badge

        Re: Blimey

        Misogyny means "hatred of women". Either you don't know that or you're really keen to get on that high-horse, since nothing I said implied hatred.

        And why you think hating women is not as bad as hatred for trans-gender people is rather baffling.

        1. Cihatari
          FAIL

          Re: Blimey

          There's a time to stop digging. Oops, too late, ah well, how's it looking in Australia?

        2. A J Stiles

          Re: Blimey

          I was using "trans-misogyny" to mean "hatred of trans women". It's slightly more euphonic than "misotransgyny". Anyway, linky:

          http://freethoughtblogs.com/nataliereed/2012/03/06/a-beginners-guide-to-trans-misogyny/

          1. Spudbynight

            Re: Blimey

            What about trans-men you hatemonger!

      2. Spudbynight

        Re: Blimey

        Surely saying trans-misogyny is more unattractive than misogyny is in fact...er...misogynistic?

  10. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Who cares on gender or reassignment...

    Excellent article....

    Sensitively dealt with...

    1. Anonymous Coward 101
      Thumb Down

      Re: Who cares on gender or reassignment...

      "Sensitively dealt with..."

      Not really.

      What's wrong with mentioning 'Sophie had gender realignment surgery' to avert confusion? Did anyone else think 'who the f*** is Roger; her brother/husband/father?'

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Unhappy

        Re: Who cares on gender or reassignment...

        True, not knowing the backstory I was quite confused re this point till I read the comments...

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: quite confused ... till I read the comments...

          Me too. A straightforward line of explanation, or even a "then" would have helped.

          One idea would be to treat any kind of identity change, whether involving gender or not, as retrospective.

          1. Kristian Walsh Silver badge

            Re: quite confused ... till I read the comments...

            I agree - if you don't know the story, the first two sentences don't really explain that the two names are the same person. On the other hand, I can see why the author is (rightly) trying to concentrate on her work, rather than the details of her personal life.

            But as for it being retrospective, I would suspect that Roger was always Sophie, long before she used the name. You don't go to the trouble and pain of a sex-change just because you fancy paying a few quid a year less for your car insurance...

            1. Anonymous Coward
              Anonymous Coward

              Re: quite confused ... till I read the comments...

              cheaper car insurance...

              Yes my lad would have saved £1000 p.a. if only he'd agreed to the op.

            2. Christine Hedley

              Re: quite confused ... till I read the comments...

              @Kristian,

              Yeah, she was always the same person, so it's quite reasonable to refer to her as Sophie, whatever time in her life she did something.

              Part of me feels I'm being slightly disrespectful by focussing on her personal life, though I do find her to be very inspirational in that regard too.

  11. DJV Silver badge
    Thumb Up

    Ah, heady days...

    Good article! Back in the 1970s I worked for a PCB manufacturer in Norwich and we built a few of the early prototype System One PCBs for Acorn (we didn't assemble the chips, just drilled, etched and screen printed the boards themselves). We didn't get the job for the full production run, though. I kept one of the memory boards with the intention of using it as expansion for my 8K PET - never did get around to doing that though. I seem to remember the board could take 2114 (1K x 4-bit) chips so it needed 16 to make the full 8K-byte.

    Slightly later on I built a few Atoms from kits for a local shop that wanted to sell them ready made at cheaper than normal ready-built price of £150 (so he was obviously paying me less than the £30 difference). There weren't that many chips on it and there were sockets for all of them. But the most difficult bit was aligning the 120 stiff wires from the keyboard (2 per key) into the corresponding holes in the PCB all at once!

  12. Weird_George
    Mushroom

    Get Real

    The work on the BBC Micro and ARM was done by Roger Wilson. End of.

    That he might now want to be known as Sophie is immaterial. Credit it properly and stop with the PC (stupidity, not personal computer).

    1. Anonymous Coward
      FAIL

      Re: Get Real

      One might choose to defer to the wishes of the person being credited... Or one could choose to be an a***hole...

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Get Real

        And this is how we treat our heroes.

        Sometimes I think there's no hope for humanity.

        1. JDX Gold badge

          Sometimes I think there's no hope for humanity.

          I'm sure many would say the exact same thing about a man wanting to cut his bits off :)

          1. Christine Hedley
            FAIL

            Re: Sometimes I think there's no hope for humanity.

            "I'm sure many would say the exact same thing about a man wanting to cut his bits off :)"

            Idiot.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Get Real

      I sincerely hope that you're not a computer programmer.

    3. mittfh

      Re: Get Real

      Erm... first names are only used in the first paragraph (and then, only once for each). After that, it's "Wilson" all the way, with no pronouns. But as far as the introductory blurb goes, even for genetic women it's standard practice to use their current name, even if they weren't married at the time and had a different surname.

      Besides which, it's linking her current reputation with the work she did back then; so it makes more sense to use her current name than use different names in each context.

  13. trevj
    WTF?

    "Unsung Heroes"?

    Presumably until tomorrow's Part 2, when their recent Fellowship awards from San Jose's Computer History Museum will be noted!

    http://tinyurl.com/dxpb8gt

    The ceremony was last Saturday

    http://tinyurl.com/c3rs8cc

    which coincided with the annual Wakefield RISC OS Show - perhaps the time difference precluded any sort of live streaming from the event!

  14. Jefe Mixtli
    Unhappy

    NOOOOOOO!!!!

    If the The Register has one habit that bugs me, it's that their prime articles, and the accompanying banner images, stick around on the right-side bar forever!

    I swear we've been staring at those two guys holding that PARIS plane for MONTHS now.

    Please, don't tell me I'm still going to be looking at this article's banner pic when Christmas comes around!

    :) :)

  15. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Probably also worth noting...

    ...that Steve is one of the best lecturers at Manchester. Properly belter.

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