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Thu

28

May

2009

IEEE Spectrum's Special Report: 25 Microchips That Shook the World
Thursday, 28 May 2009 02:16
by Zahir Ebrahim

While I did not work on this first version of the SPARC chip (joining just as it was in its final finishing stages), I did on subsequent generations of microchips, systems, and operating systems over the next decade (Sun-4 and Sun-5). This is how I too, albeit in a small way, helped usher in George H.W. Bush's infamous vision of the “New World Order”, for without these microchips, there surely wouldn't be one! While the monumental crimes against humanity of the two World Wars in the past century were perpetrated without the aid of microchips, the present enslaving of humanity into the surveillance society of 'one-world government' is only effectuated with the help of the Technetronic Revolution wrought by these microchips. See Zbigniew Brzezinski's “Between Two Ages: America's Role in the Technetronic Era”.

While IEEE Spectrum today celebrates this revolution, noting:

Their designs proved so cutting-edge, so out of the box, so ahead of their time, that we are left groping for more technology clichés to describe them. Suffice it to say that they gave us the technology that made our brief, otherwise tedious existence in this universe worth living.”,

as a direct participant with two dozen design patents on microchips and systems, I am not so sure. A simpler times now appear more appealing. Not much of a short-break, was this! We are still talking about NWO. Everything appears interrelated and interlocked. To make a decent moral living, minimally doing no harm, ideally doing good things and leaving a positive legacy rather than a negative one, appears well-nigh impossible. There is just no escape from the New World Order. Arguably, we all contribute to it in some way in the modernity du jour – unless we choose to escape the modern-age and live on pastoral farms and in the mountains.




PHOTO: Robert Garner

Sun Microsystems SPARC Processor (1987)

There was a time, long ago (the early 1980s), when people wore neon-colored leg warmers and watched “Dallas,” and microprocessor architects sought to increase the complexity of CPU instructions as a way of getting more accomplished in each compute cycle. But then a group at the University of California, Berkeley, always a bastion of counterculture, called for the opposite: Simplify the instruction set, they said, and you’ll process instructions at a rate so fast you’ll more than compensate for doing less each cycle. The Berkeley group, led by David Patterson, called their approach RISC, for reduced-instruction-set computing.

As an academic study, RISC sounded great. But was it marketable? Sun Microsystems bet on it. In 1984, a small team of Sun engineers set out to develop a 32-bit RISC processor called SPARC (for Scalable Processor Architecture). The idea was to use the chips in a new line of workstations. One day, Scott McNealy, then Sun’s CEO, showed up at the SPARC development lab. “He said that SPARC would take Sun from a $500-million-a-year company to a billion-dollar-a-year company,” recalls Patterson, a consultant to the SPARC project.

If that weren’t pressure enough, many outside Sun had expressed doubt the company could pull it off. Worse still, Sun’s marketing team had had a terrifying realization: SPARC spelled backward was…CRAPS! Team members had to swear they would not utter that word to anyone even inside Sun—lest the word get out to archrival MIPS Technologies, which was also exploring the RISC concept.

The first version of the minimalist SPARC consisted of a “20 000-gate-array processor without even integer multiply/divide instructions,” says Robert Garner, the lead SPARC architect and now an IBM researcher. Yet, at 10 million instructions per second, it ran about three times as fast as the complex-instruction-set computer (CISC) processors of the day.

Sun would use SPARC to power profitable workstations and servers for years to come. The first SPARC-based product, introduced in 1987, was the Sun-4 line of workstations, which quickly dominated the market and helped propel the company’s revenues past the billion-dollar mark—just as McNealy had prophesied.

Read more here.

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