Born December 26, 1791 in Teignmouth, Devonshire, UK. Died in 1871, London. Known as the 'Father of Computing' for his contributions to the basic design of the computer through his Analytical Machine.
A mechanical calculator with FIXED (hardwired) program.
Computers and calculators need storage to keep data.
Computers store their program as well.
Storage is in REGISTERS or in MAIN MEMORY.
Digital storage stores digits. Babbage used base 10, not binary.
Digital storage mechanisms need to be tolerant to noise: digits must recover from small jogs and move back to one of their nominal settings.
Babbage had grand plans for a PROGRAMMABLE machine: the Analytical Engine.
A program is a list of instructions:
Four basic types: change a register, load/save register in memory, PC change, I/O.
The loom is controlled with punched cards that describe the pattern to be woven.
The card under the reader is the current point in the program (program counter or PC).
There is no GOTO statement: the instructions are followed in sequence, but perhaps some could be predicated ?
This card reads 'FACTORIAL PROGRAM BY GREAVES'.
I created it using a sort of typewriter like this.
The EDVAC was an early electronic computer that had separate memories
for program and data. Main memory held 1024 ten-digit decimal numbers.
First Draft of a Report on the EDVAC (commonly shortened to First
Draft) was an incomplete 101-page document written by John von
Neumann and distributed on June 30, 1945. Program and data were to be put in the same type of memory.
Sir Maurice Wilkes:
Electronic Delay Storage Automatic Calculator (EDSAC) was an early British computer. The machine, having been inspired by John von Neumann's seminal First Draft of a Report on the EDVAC, was constructed by Maurice Wilkes and his team at the University of Cambridge Mathematical Laboratory in England. EDSAC was the first practical stored-program electronic computer.
A smaller machine was built in Manchester by Turing and his team. Both groups had secretly worked on code-breaking machines during the war.
EDSAC was supported by J. Lyons & Co. Ltd., a British firm, who were rewarded with the first commercially applied computer, LEO I, based on the EDSAC design. EDSAC ran its first programs on May 6, 1949, calculating a table of squares and a list of prime numbers.
EDSAC could address 1024 main memory locations, though only 512 were initially implemented. Each contained 18 binary digits.
Since then, really the only developments have been speed, size, electricity used and storage capacity: the
design has not changed!.
Morse code tapper.
With eight wires, using binary on each line, you can send one BYTE at a time.
A relay is a switch operated by an electro-magnet.
Buffering the telegraph signal:
Viewing it as a logic circuit.
Rather than many miles, the same ideas are used for sending
information a few centimeters over a circuit board or
a fraction of a millimeter over a silicon chip. We then need only one battery or power supply.
Mechanical Teletype: Advantages: don't need to learn Morse Code, don't need to manually write it down at the receiving station, faster.
Modern character set:
Use an 8-bit byte for each character sent.
Compatibility: You can still plug a 1950 mechanical teletype into a recent laptop using the RS-232 serial port.
Only one wire in each direction is actually needed: so with a ground earth connection as well, a total of three pins are commonly used on the nine-pin serial connector.
Plots of input and output voltage for the basic components.
Characteristic shape: flat at the edges, sharply changing in the middle: keeps binary digits clean.
Voltage meanings and margins (five volt system):
Flip-flops made from two inverters in a ring are the main means of making registers in silicon chips today.
The mechanical and electronic bistables are both volatile, meaning that information is lost when the power is removed.
Speed of switching: relay is at least a million times slower than a transistor.
Size of the switch: relay uses about 100 million times the substrate area.
Besides bistables, most computers today store data as magnetic
spots on the hard disk and static electricity charges in Flash and DRAM memories. These give a few orders of magnitude greater
density than transistor bi-stables.
The simplest function we can compute is implemented by a basic logic gate.
My logic gate is implemented with two relays: while they are both activated
by logic ones on their inputs, the output becomes a logic one.
On chips gates are made out of field-effect transistors and four transistors
are used instead of two relays.
There is also an XOR gate, and versions of AND and OR with inverted outputs
called NAND and NOR.
A half adder tallies two inputs creating a binary number in the range 0 to 2.
A B | C S -------------- 0 0 | 0 0 0 1 | 0 1 1 0 | 0 1 1 1 | 1 0
A full-adder tallies three inputs creating a binary number in the range 0 to 3.
A full-adder tattoo:
A three bit-adder is made from three full adders (six half adders).
A3 A2 A1 B3 B2 B1 | C4 S3 S2 S1 ------------------------------------- 1 0 1 0 1 0 | 0 1 1 1 5 + 2 = 7
Three-bit adder schematic symbol (hides the details):
Gate count: each gate is roughly 4 transistors. A three bit adders is 15 gates = 60 transistors.
Moore's law describes an important trend in the history of computer hardware: that the number of transistors that can be inexpensively placed on an integrated circuit is increasing exponentially, doubling approximately every two years. The observation was first made by Intel co-founder Gordon E. Moore in a 1965 paper.
The largest chips are about the size of a fingernail.
There are five or six major chips in a Nintendo DS, and dozens of small ones.
(These flip-flops are edge-triggered, meaning that they sample
their input data on the positive edge of the clock. Internally, they
use a pair of transparent latches).
Possible implementation of RAM using a linear array of registers:
Larger arrays are made using dynamic technology, using electric charge on a capacitor to store a bit instead of the ring-pair of inverters: .
The clock generates a regular series of transitions.
A counter increments on each clock pulse.
How to make a counter from an adder and a broadside register:
With ten output wires, the count range is 0 to 4095.
Schematic symbol hides the details: .
The counter output can index a RAM containing instructions.
Put instructions in the RAM and it steps through them in sequence, like stepping through the Jaquard punch cards.
Here we add a multiplexor between the adder and the broadside register.
This enables a new value to be seeded.
One of the instructions can be a GOTO, that operates the multiplexor
to select a branch destination.
The ALU is an arithmetic and logic unit: it can compute a variety of functions
of its two inputs.
The combination of control and execution units on a single chip is a called a microprocessor.
A single bus connects the processor to the memory system. This has been called the Von-Neumann bottleneck. It is avoided in today's computers by dedicating a large fraction of the processor chip to cache memories.
(You can do all this using relays if you want: A Relay Computer).
The von Neumann computer:
Understanding typical computer bus structures:
Conventional computers cannot be made any smaller or faster out of silicon: we are running out of atoms!
Today's new computers have multiple conventional computer cores on one chip: for example the "Intel Core 2 Duo" or the AMD "Turion". The cores all sharing the same main memory.
We are expecting the number of cores on the chip to keep growing.
END. (C) 2008-12 David Greaves.