Smart Sophie Again

In October 2001. after the University of North Carolina's Toolsmiths' Conference, held to honor of Fred "Mythical Man-Month" Brooks a certain Mark Smotherman asked famous computer architects which processor designs they admired.

Our heroine Sophie Wilson, chief architect (with Steve Furber) of the mighty ARM and more recently of the Broadcom FirePath gave this short insightful and very instructive answer:

Primarily the 6502. I learned about pipelines from it (by comparison with the 6800) and its designers were clear believers in the KISS principle. Plus the syntax of its assembler and general accessibility of it from the machine code perspective. I can still write in hex for it - things like A9 (LDA #) are tattoed on the inside of my skull. The assembly language syntax (but obviously not the mnemonics or the way you write code) and general feel of things are inspirations for ARM's assembly language and also for FirePath's. I'd hesitate to say that the actual design of the 6502 inspired anything in particular - both ARM and FirePath come from that mysterious ideas pool which we can't really define (its hard to believe that ARM was designed just from using the 6502, 16032 and reading the original Berkeley RISC I paper - ARM seems to have not much in common with any of them!). And clearly the 6502's follow-up, the 65816, wasn't "clean" any more, so whichever of Mensch and Moore contributed what to the 6502, Mensch by himself was a bit at sea.

Biggest object lesson was, however, National Semiconductor's 32016 (aka 16032): this showed how to completely make a mess of things. The 32016 first exposed the value of memory bandwidth to Steve Furber and I, showed how making things over-complex led to exceedingly long implementation times with loads of bugs in the implementation, and showed that however hard you tried to approach what compiler writers claimed they wanted, you couldn't satisfy them (no, I never did use a VAX). And an 8MHz 32016 was completely trounced in performance terms by a 4MHz 6502...


last updated: 24.11.21, 20:49

Youre not logged in ... Login

Dezember 2021
Made with Antville
powered by
Helma Object Publisher
recently modified
with four letters it becomes easier though i am not sure with hafi… anyhoo, inms guessing acronyms or whatever this is. *it’s not my steckenpferd
by tobi (24.11.21, 20:49)
Should be
pretty easy to guess from the context and image who HaFi and InTu are. Besides, thx for the hint to the open bold-tag.
by MaryW (22.10.21, 01:16)
Low hanging fruit
1 comment, lower geht es mathematisch schon aber psychosomatisch nicht.
by MaryW (15.10.21, 19:51)
da ist wohl ein <b> offen geblieben… und wer oder was sind HF und IT?
by tobi (25.09.21, 10:50)
manche nennen das
low hanging fruits, no?¿
by motzes (25.08.21, 20:33)
Freiwillige Feuerwehr
Wie ist das mit den freiwilligen und den professionellen Feuerwehren? Wenn 4 Häuser brennen und nur 2 Löschzüge da sind, dann gibt es doch eine....
by MaryW (22.07.21, 07:06)
That is a good argument and not to be underestimated. I was convinced a malevolent or rigid social environment (the others) posed the largest obstacle....
by MaryW (18.07.21, 08:54)
Und noch etwas
Die Schutzkleidung ist ein großes Problem. Sie verhindert allzu oft, dass mann mit anderen Säugetieren gut umgehen kann.
by StefanL (26.05.19, 07:09)
U get 1 big smile from me 4 that comment! And yes, i do not like embedded except it is good like this. It's like....
by StefanL (19.05.19, 16:30)
Just saying. #esc #strachevideo— Helene Voglreiter (@HeeLene) May 19, 2019 (Sorry, falls embedded unsocial media unerwünscht ist…)
by tobi (19.05.19, 10:57)
That's an adequate comment! Und das erste Zitat ein ganz besonders tolles Beispiel für den "Umschlag von Quantität in Qualität".
by MaryW (15.05.19, 19:57)
In the future everyone will be famous for fifteen people. – Momus You’ll always be a planet to me, Mr Bacchus. – Charon Fußnote! Find ick knorke.....
by tobi (15.05.19, 14:07)
I think I maybe know what you meant. It is the present we know best and the future we invent. And history is mostly used....
by StefanL (13.05.19, 00:55)
by StefanL (05.05.19, 21:15)
what about hindsight is 20/20?
by tobi (05.05.19, 14:00)
Ja echt.
Vielleicht schaffen wir es aber ja wieder einmal auf ein Konzert zusammen.
by StefanL (01.05.19, 05:55)
oh schade, verpasst…
by tobi (30.04.19, 09:07)
Als ethnische Gruppe bezeichnete Max Weber eine "Menschengruppe, welche auf Grund von Ähnlichkeiten des äußeren Habitus oder der Sitten oder beider ... einen subjektiven Glauben....
by StefanL (28.04.19, 07:28)
vielleicht aber
hat er auch während des Moderierens seinen Text sozusagen live in die Wikipedia kopiert? (leider wird diese theorie durch überprüfung der datenlage nicht unbedingt erhärtet.)
by chris (30.03.19, 09:08)
by misc (28.03.19, 09:28)

RSS Feed