Reply to post: Silicon valley view of the world

Google gives its $1m Turing prize to, er, top Google bods: RISC men Hennessy, Patterson


Silicon valley view of the world

Hennessy and Patterson got all of the credit for RISC but there were others who preceded them. The IBM 801 project, which lead to PowerPC, was built before either the MIPS or SPARC chips, I remember reading the 801 papers in late 1982 and thinking that they were doing the correct thing. However before any of them there was Seymour Cray who was the original proponent of simple architectures. Cray machines weren't Reduced Instruction Set Computers because he had never complicated them in the first place. The CDC 6600 and the Cray 1 were examples of minimal instruction set machines, the CDC 6600 was contemporaneous with the IBM 360, the machine that could be considered the first CISC machine. There were other simple instruction set machines in the 60s and early 70s, the DEC PDP8 and the Data General Nova, both design by Ed DeCastro, however those machines were simple by necessity, cost was the driving factor which at the time meant simple. Cray's machines were simple as a matter of philosophy, they were designed to be the fastest computers in the world and the way Cray achieved that was by using very simple instruction sets and running them at very high clock rates (for the time).

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