Take a trip down memory lane – the Mostek MK4096 4-kilobit DRAM, for instance. Perhaps processors are more to your liking. Remember the Sh-Boom processor (1988), created by Russell Fish and Chuck Moore, and named after the bar in which it was conceived. Intel, AMD, and paid big licensing fees for its scheme to run faster than the clock on the circuit board.
Lists are often fun. Last month, the IEEE Spectrum created a Chip Hall of Fame, “To honor and tell the stories of these renowned blobs of silicon—and their creators and users.” It is by no means comprehensive, and the first class of inductees draws from the Spectrum’s “25 Microchips That Shook the World,” article which appeared in 2009 although there are many others chips as well.
As noted in the introduction to the Chip Hall of Fame, written by Stephen Cass, “[S]ome chips stand out like a celebrity on the red carpet. Many of these integrated circuits found glory by directly powering products that transformed the world, while others cast a long shadow of influence over the computing landscape. And some became cautionary tales in their failed ambitions.”
Don’t look for KNL or P100. None of the new chips on the block are present, but the Spectrum promises a growing cast of awardees annually and is seeking input on which ones are deserving. For a bit of summer whimsy, check out the lists.
Here are the current categories:
- Amplifiers & Audio
- Memory & Storage
- MEMs& Sensors
Link to Chip Hall of Fame: http://spectrum.ieee.org/static/chip-hall-of-fame
Feature image: “The 6502 chip wasn’t just faster than its competitors—it was also way cheaper, selling for US $25 while Intel’s 8080 and Motorola’s 6800 were both fetching nearly $200.” Image source: Computer History Museum.