+ Technology: ARM processor designer honored!

29 December 2007

Architect of the home computer revolution
receives engineering’s most prestigious medal

Professor Steve Furber

As you may have already know know but your lovely phone is powered by the ARM processor and actually ARM enables Nokia to put all these fancy features into such a small and compact devices.

In fact, almost all modern mobile phones and personal digital assistants contain ARM CPUs, making them the most widely-used 32-bit microprocessor family in the world, more so than the better-known 32-bit Pentium 4 processors found in many PCs. Today ARMs account for over 75% of all 32-bit embedded CPUs

Anyway, the ARM design was started in 1983 as a development project at Acorn Computers Ltd. The team, led by Roger Wilson and Steve Furber, started development of what in some ways resembles an advanced MOS Technology 6502.

Professor Steve Furber, one of the leading developers of personal computing, has been awarded the Faraday Medal, the IET’s (Institution of Engineering and Technology) most prestigious award, for his ground breaking contributions to engineering and technology.

Most celebrated for his work at Acorn Computers Ltd, Professor Furber’s work has had a significant impact on the economy, industry and lifestyle of people worldwide. At Acorn he was a principal designer of two world leading innovations: the BBC Microcomputer and the ARM® 32-bit RISC microprocessor, both of which earned the Queen’s Award for Technology.

ARM Cortex-A9 MPCore
*click to enlarge

For many people across the English speaking world, their first experience of a computer was through the BBC Microcomputer, including the vast majority of pupils in the UK, who first used BBC Microcomputers to learn computer literacy and information technology skills. The computer, which was developed by Furber and colleagues in 1981, was particularly successful as an educational tool.

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The ARM processor design began in 1983 as a development project at Acorn Computers Ltd. The team, in which Steve Furber played a leading role, developed the technology that formed the basis for the world’s most successful SoC (System-on-Chip) processor licensing company. Because of initial benefits of high performance with power efficiency and cost effectiveness, ARM processors have become the most prolific in mobile and consumer electronics applications across the globe.

The processors are now found in all corners of consumer electronics worldwide, from portable devices which include PDAs, mobile phones, media players, handheld gaming units, automotive applications, digital set-top boxes, high-definition TV, to computer peripherals such as hard drives and desktop routers. In 2006, almost 2.5 billion ARM processors were shipped around the globe by ARM’s Semiconductor Partners.

ARM processor

ARM processor

Source: BBC, IM, Theiet, Wiki, Author: Apocalypso

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