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    The Future of Microprocessors 
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    This talk's probably a bit too long and geeky for most

    But for anyone interested, it's given by Sophie Wilson and discusses some pretty interesting facets of microprocessor history and future development. If you have any interest in microcomputing history at all, you may have already heard of her.

    Basically, if you own a smartphone, tablet, TV, car, or pretty much any other piece of modern electronic hardware (especially connected devices and those dependent on a high degree of energy efficiency), the chances are it contains microchips of a type - RISC architecture - that were pioneered by her when she worked for the British computer company Acorn/ARM in the early 1980s.

    Last edited by CFC; 25-11-2018 at 00:09.
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    I just skimmed it since I've heard all this before but yeah seems like a good talk. ARM is progressing very fast, in the past two years a bunch of SoCs have gotten official Linux kernel support and there are now ARM workstation boards with these beastly Cavium processors, up to 128 64-bit threads. They're being priced at ~$15k now but prices should fall at some point.

    I don't think RISC-V was mentioned but that is the latest hotness. RISC-V is actually open source architecture, so that means no friction between kernel developers and vendors, which means software support will be top-tier! So far it's mainly biased towards parallel processing though, there's more info about it here: https://www.pulp-platform.org/
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    I'm a real gear-head and it was hard for me to get through the entire vid (but I did). She knows a lot but her public speaking performance is bad. I'd love to have her as a friend so we could just talk because what she says is spot on!


    As a mobile phone user, the average normie will never need the thread count, but I can see apps that can use that kind of power ( in fact they rely one it ) but it's not mainstream quite yet. Think self driving cars, etc.

    Exciting times ahead !!!

    I'm over 80, so I will sadly not see much of it to fruition.
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    Quote Originally Posted by thujone View Post
    I just skimmed it since I've heard all this before but yeah seems like a good talk. ARM is progressing very fast, in the past two years a bunch of SoCs have gotten official Linux kernel support and there are now ARM workstation boards with these beastly Cavium processors, up to 128 64-bit threads. They're being priced at ~$15k now but prices should fall at some point.

    I don't think RISC-V was mentioned but that is the latest hotness. RISC-V is actually open source architecture, so that means no friction between kernel developers and vendors, which means software support will be top-tier! So far it's mainly biased towards parallel processing though, there's more info about it here: https://www.pulp-platform.org/
    Yeah I think that was filmed in 2015 so a few years old now I'll be really interested to see what happens with RISC-V.

    And yeah those are some steep prices but I know there's a big push to have data centres, servers, workstations etc switch to ARM now, so prices must surely come down. No surprises I guess that Cavium bought their chip designs from Broadcom, which itself bought an old offshoot of Acorn, which is where Sophie Wilson's team is now I believe lol.

    Quote Originally Posted by White_Rose View Post
    I'm a real gear-head and it was hard for me to get through the entire vid (but I did). She knows a lot but her public speaking performance is bad. I'd love to have her as a friend so we could just talk because what she says is spot on!

    As a mobile phone user, the average normie will never need the thread count, but I can see apps that can use that kind of power ( in fact they rely one it ) but it's not mainstream quite yet. Think self driving cars, etc.

    Exciting times ahead !!!

    I'm over 80, so I will sadly not see much of it to fruition.
    Yeah she struggles a bit with public speaking and always has from what I can tell. Must be hard to get all that info out in a way that the rest of us will understand

    And I'm with you there W_R, exciting times ahead. Though what'll come after not just you but all of us have passed would surely blow us away just as much as the changes just around the corner today. It seems to be the one constant we can rely on
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    when i worked for symbian in the mid to late 90s, we released our 32-bit OS and our partner company psion released the first product based on the platform - the psion series 5:



    the cpu was custom made but was based on arm7 and, in my role in business development at symbian, i got to work with arm in los gatos a fair bit. they were a very interesting and inspiring company - a cpu company who didn't make a single cpu

    alasdair
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    ^ nice! Symbian never caught on around here but the Nokia N900 later gained a cult following amongst *nix users. These days there are a lot of options, like tablet + BT keyboard, but an x86 laptop and ARM smartphone still gets my vote as the best combo for mobile productivity.

    I think Acorn was only ever a big deal in GB, but IIRC the bulk of the Pi developers were previously Acorn heads. Some other ARM vendors are getting better at open-sourcing their development software but some of the critical hardware is still limited to proprietary firmware Hopefully RISC-V opens the floodgates for more open-source hardware but I'm not really holding my breath, yet...
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    Quote Originally Posted by alasdairm View Post
    when i worked for symbian in the mid to late 90s, we released our 32-bit OS and our partner company psion released the first product based on the platform - the psion series 5
    Small world, I had a friend who was working for Symbian around the turn of the century, and then went on to Nokia. We lost touch but I imagine he's still doing the same stuff.
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    what's his name? pm if need be

    i left symbian in late 1999 so i may know him.

    alasdair
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    Quote Originally Posted by alasdairm View Post
    when i worked for symbian in the mid to late 90s, we released our 32-bit OS and our partner company psion released the first product based on the platform - the psion series 5:



    the cpu was custom made but was based on arm7 and, in my role in business development at symbian, i got to work with arm in los gatos a fair bit. they were a very interesting and inspiring company - a cpu company who didn't make a single cpu

    alasdair
    Heh, I used to work as a quality control tester for a mobile phone company from 2001 to 2011, and I remember the Symbian OS well. It was the dogs bollocks for quite a while ...
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    yep - it was, for want of not using a cliche, 'ahead of its time'.

    hell, even the 16-bit sibo platform, which powered the series 3 range of products:



    was very advanced at the time - full, pre-emptive multi-tasking in the palm of your hand.

    i loved that product

    alasdair
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    Quote Originally Posted by alasdairm View Post
    yep - it was, for want of not using a cliche, 'ahead of its time'.

    hell, even the 16-bit sibo platform, which powered the series 3 range of products:



    was very advanced at the time - full, pre-emptive multi-tasking in the palm of your hand.

    i loved that product

    alasdair
    I used to lust after those...
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