Department of Computer Science and Technology

Maurice V. Wilkes

The Evolution of the high-performance workstation : 1980 - 2005

A series of addresses

In the period immediately after my retirement from my Professorship at Cambridge, I received a number of invitations to deliver invited lectures and keynote addresses. These were well received and further invitations followed. I wrote up the lectures at the times I gave them and they were duly published. They dealt with the topic of the design of high-performance workstations and lie within the period of twenty five years from 1980 to 2005. This period is, in retrospect, seen to be of great interest since it neatly covers the RISC movement and the subsequent steady shrinkage of feature size from around 5 microns to very near the physical limit.

I reproduce here ten of the lectures exactly as they originally appeared. They give one person's view of the progress in workstation design as it was being made. The last three of the series were published on the World Wide Web, rather than in journals. In each case the numbers, where appropriate, refer to the full bibliography.

  1. Wilkes, M. V. The processor instruction set. Proceedings of Micro-15, Association for Computing Machinery (1982).
    Keynote address published December 1982.
  2. Wilkes, M. V. Past, present, and future of the computer field. Proceedings of the IEE, vol. 131E, p. 106 (1984).
    Delivered 16 February 1984.
  3. Wilkes, M. V. The past and future development of personal computers. Computer standards and interfaces, vol. 8, p. 5 (1988).
    Delivered May 1987.
  4. Wilkes, M. V. A perspective on computer progress in the last five years. IEE Computing and control engineering, vol. 1, p. 201 (1990).
    Published September 1990.
  5. Wilkes, M. V. Operating systems in a changing world. Operating systems review, vol. 28, no. 2, p. 9 (1994).
    Delivered December 1993.
  6. Wilkes, M. V. Computers then and now - Part 2. Proceedings of the ACM Computer Science Conference (1996).
    Delivered February 1996.
  7. Wilkes, M. V. The CMOS end-point and related topics in computing. IEE Computing and control engineering, vol. 7, p. 101 (1996).
    Published 8 February 1996.
  8. Wilkes, M. V. CMOS workstations and servers: how far can evolution and innovation take us? Address at PACT (1998).
    Delivered October 1998.
  9. Wilkes, M. V. Moore’s law and the future. Computer Laboratory Seminar (2002).
    Delivered October 2002.
  10. Wilkes, M. V. Progress in computers. Lecture given at IEE Cambridge Branch (2004).
    Prestige lecture delivered 5 February 2004.