Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Early Microcomputer Design and SAP1 Architecture: The Relation

The first generation of microcomputers came out between 1971 and 1976. These technologies were built for some engineering development and hobbyist personal use. All of the early microcomputers are designed in an undemanding way. It only looks like boxes with lights for the output and switches for the inputs. The user should be capable of understanding and interpreting binary numbers and machine language to be able of programming and using early microcomputers. These computers are called “box of switches” – type microcomputers, one of the most famous of this type is the MITS(Micro Instrumentation and Telemetry System) Altair 8800 that was introduced in 1975. Early microcomputers were mostly sold as electronic kits. These electronic kits were bags that are full of loose components which the buyer should connect together first before the system could be used. (an excerpt from an article in Wikipedia)

These microcomputers only has simple functions same as its simple design. These are only made for some simple purposes such as computing and some simulation. The architecture of these computers could be the quite similar to the Simple as Possible 1 (SAP1) Architecture. The computers that are using the SAP1 architecture were specially designed for some educational purposes and have nothing to do with industrial use. The SAP1 architecture can only perform addition and subtraction operations. It does not have any logical operation. And this architecture cannot store program having more than 16 instructions.

These abilities of the SAP1 architecture were very appropriate for those early microcomputers because this computer only performs several simple sets of instructions. The SAP1 architecture absolutely fits the early microcomputers that are designed for simple simulation and simple computing processes.