Firmware sort processor with LSI components
Proceedings of the May 5-7, 1970, spring joint computer conference on - AFIPS '70 (Spring)
INTRODUCTION With the latest achievements of the large scale integration (LSI) technology, -a major qualitative breakthrough in the information processing art is expected. The consensus in the computer industry is that the next generation of computers will be constructed with LSI components. Three inherent characteristics of LSI, subject to incessant improvement, appeal most to both computer manufacturers and users. First, significant reduction in the production cost due to the automated design
... he automated design and fabrication of large and complex logic circuits in a single package. Second, improvement of the overall system reliability by at least one ord~r of magnitude because of the automated manufacturing processes and sharp reduction of the number of external interconnections. And, last, higher operational speeds because of microminiaturization and advanced technology. Admitting however these potential capabilities of LSI and its inevitable impact on the future of the computer industry, if should be emphasized that the introduction of the new generation of computers with LSI components cannot repeat the past pattern of computer generations because of several factors: a. The qualitative superiority of transistors and later IC's compared with their predecessors were indisputable from the beginning. The mass production and the absorption of these components by the computer manufacturers went smoothly and fast. Yet LSI has not achieved a similar status. The problems of power dissipation and cooling, packaging and interconnections, yield and mass production of off-the-shelf products are of a much higher magnitude for LSI than were those of its predecessors. b. For the full utilization of LSI's expected capabilities, new concepts and techniques should be developed for all phases of computer design. A conventional computer logic simply redesigned with LSI components can hardly be described as a new generation of computers, nor can it disclose any significant technical and economical advantages. It is estimated that even if LSI technology were offered free, such redesign would reduce the hardware cost by only 3.5 percent. l c. The multibillion dollar investments made by computer manufacturers and users in the current information processing installations will retard an abrupt growth of a new generation of computers. These factors indicate that the introduction of a new generation of information processing systems will be a slow and evolutionary process. There will be a transitionary computer generation, that combines basic third generation equipment and operating software and new special purpose processors, peripheral controllers and terminals designated to increasethe overall computations per dollar of the present computers. These developments will overcome the inefficiencies and/or limitations of the current computer generation, thereby substantiating the economical as well as technological grounds for a truly new generation of computer systems. The state-of-the-art of the semiconductor technology confirms that LSI can make a decisive contribution in this evolutionary trend.