Future Microchips

To All:
    In the January issue of Scientific American there is an article titled "The Next 20 Years of Microchips: Pushing Performance Boundaries",
which I thought might be interesting, since we're all obviously involved with using computers.     I've copied some excerpts from the article below.
============================================================= http://www.scientificamerican.com/article.cfm?id=the-next-20-years-of-microchips
Alternative materials and designs will be needed for chips to continue to improve.
Size: Crossing the Bar:
    Instead of fabricating transistors all in one plane (like cars packed into the lanes of a jammed silicon highway), the crossbar approach has a set of parallel nanowires in one plane that crosses over a second set of wires at right angles to it (two perpendicular highways).
Heat: Refrigerators or Wind:
    A research group led by Intel has crafted a thin-film superlattice of bismuth telluride into the packaging that encases a chip. The thermoelectric material converts temperature gradients into electricity, in effect refrigerating the chip itself.
Architecture: Multiple Cores:
    If the approaches can be perfected, desktop and mobile devices could contain dozens or more parallel processors, which might individually have fewer transistors than current chips but work faster as a group overall.
Slimmer Materials: Nanotubes and Self-Assembly:
    Arranging molecules or even atoms can be tricky, especially given the need to assemble them at high volume during chip production. One solution could be molecules that self-assemble: mix them together, then expose them to heat or light or centrifugal forces, and they will arrange themselves into a predictable pattern.
Faster Transistors: Ultrathin Graphene:
    ...Researchers are confident they can make graphene transistors that are just 10 nanometers across and one atom high. Numerous circuits could perhaps be carved into a single, tiny graphene sheet.
Optical Computing: Quick as Light:
    Engineers at Intel and the University of California, Santa Barbara, have built optical ?data pipes? from indium phosphate and silicon using common semiconductor manufacturing processes.
Molecular Computing: Organic Logic:
    Molecules can be tiny, so circuits built with them could be far smaller than those made in silicon. One difficulty, however, is finding ways to fabricate complex circuits. Researchers hope that self-assembly might be one answer.
Quantum Computing: Superposition of 0 and 1:
    In addition to enjoying superposition, quantum elements can become ?entangled.? Information states are linked across many qubits, allowing powerful ways to process information and to transfer it from location to location.
Biological Computing: Chips that Live:
    A biological chip, in addition to its having orders of magnitude more elements, could provide massively parallel processing.     Such computers may end up in your bloodstream rather than on your desktop. =============================================================
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<snip>
My hero Richard Feynman thought that computers will become one-billionth the size and power consumption eventually. Interfacing should prove to be interesting.
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We used to refer to that as the "Smoking Hairy Golf Ball" As the processor would get smaller and more and more dense, it would need more and more connections to the denser core of circuitry all packed tighter, and tighter.
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IIRC, in the fairly early days of "super" VLSI, Fairchild published a joke engineering spec on the F9440 (a DG Nova 2 instruction-set micro).
It stated something to the gist of, "Cooling should be provided with a 6- foot fan placed 1/2" from the top of the package. If the chip overheats, more cooling is called-for."
Of course, back in that day, 50MHz x86 chips were overheating. They've learned a lot since then. They'd have been all a-goggle over a 3+GHz processor clock.
LLoyd
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Lloyd E. Sponenburgh wrote:

    IIRC, back around 1980 the place I worked at got a CNC upgrade to it's Bridgeport Boss I NC milling machine. It used Bridgeport's proprietary CAM system (Before EZCam), ran on a Tandy TRS80 clone, with 4 KB of RAM @ 1.77 MHz.     I think my first home computer was an IBM PC that ran at 4.77 MHz with 16 KB of RAM (that was expandable to 256 KB). When I expanded it to 256 KB, I thought it was HUGE, & that I was the Big Dog on the block and would NEVER need that much RAM. LOL
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BottleBob wrote:

My first computer was an Epson QX-10. Yeah, CP/M! Dual 320k (IIRC) floppies, and not much ram. These were the days when nearly every CP/M computer had it's own disk format. Most shareware was available in Kaypro format, so when I got something to try, I had to visit a friend with a Kaypro and a program that would convert to the Epson format. This was my first gateway to the online world via a 300baud modem. For the young-uns here, you can read text streaming from a BBS in real time at 300 baud. At 1200 you can scan enough to know the gist of the text.
What was standout for the machine was genuine WYSIWYG text editing. Of course, at a crude resolution that didn't even match dot matrix printers of the day. That was using the Valdocs software (Valuable Documents). One of my customers deals in automation, I was talking to one of his programmers one day and discovered he was one of the programmers for Valdocs. Small world sometimes. I remember when an interface card was made available that would support a whopping 20mb HDD. The card alone was around a grand!
I thought it was pretty danged advanced when I bought it, compared to the Altair/MITS some of my high school classmates had gone nuts over...
Hooray for progress!
Jon
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300 Baud? I'm almost certain I'm younger than you (40 this summer) and I started off at 110 baud...
But I do remember the old 8" floppies and hard drives that weighed in at 50+ lbs. About 4-5 lbs. per meg. :)
Just about a month ago, I reconnected with an old friend from the early 1980's who claimed he could "hear" at 110 baud. In other words, I can pick up the phone and tell you what touch tones you press by ear... He claimed to be able to tell what some characters were at 110 baud. LOL... Those were the days before "Hacker" was a term made negative by the media. BBS wasn't a sexual preferecne either. Phreaks we were, that's for sure. :)
Regards, Joe Agro, Jr. (800) 871-5022 01.908.542.0244 Automatic / Pneumatic Drills: http://www.AutoDrill.com Multiple Spindle Drills: http://www.Multi-Drill.com Production Tapping: http://Production-Tapping-Equipment.com / Flagship Site: http://www.Drill-N-Tap.com VIDEOS:
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How about WPM TTY...
Martin
Joe AutoDrill wrote:

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All the TTY I worked with (interfacing with deaf students at the time) were either 110 or 300 baud.
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Regards,
Joe Agro, Jr.
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Those are enhanced electronic types I suppose.
We were in words per minute. WPM and hardwire to the special data line from the phone company. It was typically a current loop 60ma setup.
But that was a while ago.
Martin
Joe AutoDrill wrote:

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Not my first computer, which was a hand-built, home-designed wire-wrap monstrosity... but my first "real" computer was a Ferguson Big-Board I built up to run CP/M. And I had WordStar! Now that was WYSIWYG! (I remember that I got a "seconds" board because it was about $50 less expensive than the first-quality ones. The seconds had somehow escaped the final tin-plate process -- all the feedthroughs were nickel plated, and a damnable BITCH to solder.)
IIRC, the 8" SA801 drives held 141K per disk. It was amazing when they went double-sided with the SA851s, and astounding when I built a SASI host-adaptor and connected a Shugart 5MB hard drive to the system. WOW!
The whole computer (sans monitor and keyboard) only weighed about 120lb. Most of that was the honkin' linear supply with about 40lb of iron in it.
LLoyd
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On Dec 21, 2:25pm, "Lloyd E. Sponenburgh" <lloydspinsidemindspring.com> wrote:

Yikes, My first computer was a hand wire wrapped "Collection" The old power supply was still sitting around and last weekend I needed a battery charger and my normal one was at the shop. So I used the old power supply for a battery charger. I had an enormous disk drive.. 4 or 5 Megabytes, it only weighed 900 lbs, and originally ran on three phase. I converted it over to single phase, and built level shifters for the old diode logic in the disk drive. It has since been donated to a computer museum. The 'operating system" was hand written, compiled on a quadrille pad, and then I made a homemade EPROM programmer. I had to borrow an old Altair system to key in the bytes one at a time to memory, and burn the EPROM chip. Took it home and plugged it into the CPU board to allow me to use a keyboard and a video display.. My next computer was a home-brew apple II clone. And a bunch of assembly programming for the old CPM computers. Those were the days. You could actually work on something. And get the information you needed. Nowadays, you load some software, something dies, and the software seller tells you it's Micro$oft'$ fault. Micro$oft tells you need to spend a few hundred for a new operating system. Nothing works and the ONLY solution is to piss more and more money down the drain.
We did NOT progress in the last 30 years.
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"Lloyd E. Sponenburgh" <lloydspinsidemindspring.com> wrote in message

I had a Xerox 820 surplus bare board that I had to solder all the parts on. The 820 was the Big Board with Xerox's name on it. I loved to play text adventures like "Zork" (xyzzy)
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Buerste wrote:

I've reworked the Big Board (ala Kaypro, ala ATR8500, etc). It's only 4-1/2" x 6"
And that using all thru-hole parts and no programmable arrays.
I (heart) Z80s...
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Those WERE the days! I was driven to learn "Turbo Pascal" then "C".
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    [ ... ]

    I learned both on my OS-9 system, except that the Pascal was an ISO standard one (with some extensions), not the rather non-standard version which the Turbo Pascal was. When I think of the hoops I jumped through to handle passing all the variable declarations to the multiple programs of a suite I wrote for handling the membership files of an organization for which I was the membership chair while working in Pascal. The C was a lot easier to deal with, because it had the ability to read in "include" files, while I had to write a pre-processor (which I called "include" in C for merging common files into the Pascal source.) But I did the actual porting of the membership programs to C on my first (v7) unix box, not the OS-9, where I was using the C mostly to write tools (like the "include" program for the Pascal).
    But the Pascal certainly drove out of my head a lot of the bad practices which I had learned with BASIC. :-)
    Enjoy,         DoN.
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DoN. Nichols wrote:

You can write beautifully structured BASIC, Don. You don't *have* to, but you can if you want to.
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QuickBasic 4.5 from the mid 90's has C and Pascal syntax blended in while still supporting the old Basic instructions: INCLUDE, SELECT CASE, DO...LOOP, WHILE..WEND, even pointers so it can CALL ABSOLUTE a hex string of machine language. It's wordier than C, you can't just type "struct" but you can create them by first defining the type, so it's more self-documenting. When run in DOS it gives full access to the I/O hardware, at Unitrode I used it to control IC development circuits connected to the printer port. It's somewhat functional in Windows by invoking NT shell scripts to copy and rename long-name files.
jsw
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Jim Wilkins wrote:

Hi Jim,
I'm interested in the long file name issues. Do you have any examples handy?
Richard
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On Thu, 24 Dec 2009 12:29:22 -0600, cavelamb

=========An easier and more reliable solution may be the console compiler from "Power Basic." Runs like a text based DOS program within windows with no DOS box or emulator required. They also have a "Windows" version.
http://www.powerbasic.com / http://www.powerbasic.com/products/pbcc / http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/PowerBASIC
PowerBasic appears to be an evolution of Borland's Turbobasic.
See their forums at http://www.powerbasic.com/support/pbforums /. There is also a very low activity NG.
The only shortcoming I have come across is the lack of a complex number function library.
Long filenames see http://www.powerbasic.com/products/dosbox/
Unka George (George McDuffee) .............................. The past is a foreign country; they do things differently there. L. P. Hartley (1895-1972), British author. The Go-Between, Prologue (1953).
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