IEEE: 25 Microchips that Shook the World

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MATLABdude
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mgb_phys
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Our parents and grandparents got nostalgic over steam trains and sailing ships, we get nostalgia over memory chips !
Even nostalgia isn't what it used to be ....
 
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dlgoff
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Our parents and grandparents got nostalgic over steam trains and sailing ships, we get nostalgia over memory chips !
Even nostalgia isn't what it used to be ....
I wouldn't say that. :biggrin:
6sj7.jpg
 
  • #4
mheslep
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Found via a Slashdot posting, an article in IEEE Spectrum, 25 Microchips that Shook the World:
http://spectrum.ieee.org/print/8747

I thought the 7400 (or the whole 74xx series) deserved to be on there, but it did make the Runners-Up list:
http://spectrum.ieee.org/may09/8814/
Good point, 2nd that.

Overall great selection by Spectrum. Right away I thought of the z80, the 808x, and the original Mac's 68000. I disagree w/ putting the Sparc in the top 25. The world shaking aspect of those early Sun machines was over all design of the box and Sun's Unix version. They would have also done well on Motorola or Intel CPUs. Also, I'd leave the Cell Processor off even the honorable mentions. It is a heck of CPU for pure number crunching, but it has too many draw backs for the wide acceptance required to get on 'shook the world' list.
 
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mgb_phys
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I disagree w/ putting the Sparc in the top 25. The world shaking aspect of those early Sun machines was over all design of the box and Sun's Unix version.
You have to include a RISC processor, the DEC Alpha was probably bang/buck/watt more revolutionary but died of HP takeover.

Also, I'd leave the Cell Processor off even the honorable mentions. It is a heck of CPU for pure number crunching, but it has too many draw backs for the wide acceptance required to get on 'shook the world' list.
The list is about game-changing inventions, $10 GPUs that are more powerful than supercomputers are going to have an effect.
 
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MATLABdude
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I'm not sure if the Micronas MP3 chip was that big of a game changer, but you can't argue with the near-ubiquity of iPods and other MP3 players today. Then again, people had CD players before then, and before that, Walkmans, and before that, Boomboxes and transistor radios. And I guess way before then, they had guitars (or lutes).

If anything, the huge amounts of data that you can now tote around on your keychain probably owes more to flash memory. Very few of them have the ability to decode and play MP3s though.
 
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mheslep
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You have to include a RISC processor, the DEC Alpha was probably bang/buck/watt more revolutionary but died of HP takeover.
The Alpha was novel and powerful but it had zilch for world impact.


The list is about game-changing inventions, $10 GPUs that are more powerful than supercomputers are going to have an effect.
Yeah I'd put Nvidia GPUs on there as game changers.
 
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mheslep
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I'm not sure if the Micronas MP3 chip was that big of a game changer, but you can't argue with the near-ubiquity of iPods and other MP3 players today. Then again, people had CD players before then, and before that, Walkmans, and before that, Boomboxes and transistor radios. And I guess way before then, they had guitars (or lutes)....
Yes but none of those fundamentally changed the music industry. MP3 did, by allowing immediately access to new music and the ability to take a huge collection with you where ever you roam.
 
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MATLABdude
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Yes but none of those fundamentally changed the music industry. MP3 did, by allowing immediately access to new music and the ability to take a huge collection with you where ever you roam.
And ease of distribution, and force the examination of the delineation between human tendencies to share, and the need to reward the artists to keep the music going (so to speak). Okay, maybe it's more like rewarding the recording companies, and having the royalties trickle down to the artists.
 
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mgb_phys
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I'm not sure if the Micronas MP3 chip was that big of a game changer,
The important thing about the MP3 player was that it changed the thinking on formats.
CDs (and to an extent DVD) use a very simple encoding because the assumption was that you couldn't have complex algorithms in the decoder because you want to sell millions of them and it's too expensive to build anything powerful using general purpose CPUs

The MP3 chips said, build the best compression system you can, don't worry about the cost of decoding - the market will produce custom chips that make it cheaper than you can imagine.
 

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