Celebrating eleven IEEE milestones at the Computer History Museum – EEJournal

September 11th, an unforgettable day, was also a day to celebrate some of the milestones of Silicon Valley

September 11th is a day of mourning to commemorate the terrible events that occurred 20 years ago in the United States, but this year, it was also a happy day to quietly remember ten important Silicon Valley landmarks. Brian Berg organized an outdoor event at the Computer History Museum in Mountain View, California to celebrate eleven of the IEEE milestones he helped create.

IEEE approves technical achievements that are at least 25 years old. These milestones recognize achievements in the fields of electrical engineering and computer science, and include many important events and achievements, such as Benjamin Franklin’s experiments with electricity in the mid-18th century, Marconi’s experiments with the wireless telegraph, the invention of the transistor, and development. From the CD, and the first stereophonic recording – which took place at London’s Abbey Road Studios in 1931, long before the Beatles recorded there.

The speakers at the 9/11 event gave speeches, exchanged memories, and told some awesome. Eleven IEEE Milestones are commemorated with bronze plaques mounted on a brick wall in the museum’s courtyard.

Here is a summary of the milestones:

shki the robot

Shakey the robot was an ARPA-funded project that started in many areas, including robotics, artificial intelligence, and computer vision. The newly created Center for Artificial Intelligence at SRI International (originally Stanford Research Institute) proposed a “mobile reconnaissance automation” project to ARPA in the mid-1960s. This may sound like an odd term, but it helped ensure that the project was approved. ARPA was not funding autonomous military robots at the time; It would have looked a lot like science fiction. Shakey was the first mobile robot with the ability to perceive and think about its surroundings. The project ran from 1966 to 1972.

At the time, you couldn’t fit a computer into a mobile platform, so Shakey’s “brain” was a room-sized computer, which was connected to the robot by radio. Shakey can parse commands and break them into basic parts on their own. The project combined research in robotics, computer vision, and natural language processing. Shakey the robot has greatly influenced modern robotics and artificial intelligence technologies.

Shake’s foundational algorithms – including the A* search algorithm, the Hough transform for feature extraction, and graph traversal – are still used today. They calculate your driving directions, determine the paths of video game characters, and even choose the paths of self-driving Mars rovers. It also serves as the basis for lane-keeping technology now used in millions of cars. Chaki has been called the great-grandfather of self-driving cars and military drones.

Although the days of Shakey’s wanderlust are long gone, SRI continued to develop autonomous robots – including Flakey and UCAV – long after Shakey retired. Meanwhile, you can still see Shakey, the pioneering and innovative robot, on exhibit at the Computer History Museum. In addition, SRI has created a 24-minute movie titled “Shaki: Experimentation in Robot Learning and Planning. “

the offer

Silicon Valley was founded on the basis of demos. Want venture capital for your startup? You need a presentation, preferably with a demo. The most famous demo of all time, often called “The Mother of All Demos,” took place in San Francisco on December 9, 1968. Doug Engelbart’s famous demonstration featured many of the computer technologies that are becoming popular today, including hypertext and conference video and – perhaps do not forget – the mouse. Like Shakey, Engelbart’s demo was an SRI project.


While working at Hughes Electronics during the 1970s, Eli Harari found that silicon dioxide films (thin as about 100 angstroms) support the Fowler-Nordheim tunnel at reasonable voltage levels and can be used as a data storage mechanism. This discovery led to the development of EEPROM in 1976 and is the primary storage mechanism for flash memory. Harari founded SanDisk, a flash memory company, in 1988. Flash memory sales had grown to $56 billion by 2020.

Risk, Spark

In the early 1980s, Professor Dave Patterson at UC Berkeley successfully demonstrated the advantages of a simplified processor architecture called RISC, for reduced instruction set computing. His work was controversial, to say the least. During that time, Sun Microsystems’ workstations were riding successive generations of Motorola Semiconductor’s 68000 CISC microprocessors, but Sun decided to change horses before the 68000 architecture sold out. Sun adopted Patterson’s ideas, hired him as a consultant, and developed the first SPARC processor.

Uday Kapoor directed the team that designed SPARC, which was the first commercial success of the RISC approach. Today, even CISC processors are RISC processors under the hood, but the SPARC processor was RISC’s first major commercial success.

Mor .’s Law

If you are reading this article, there is a 99.9999999 percent chance that you have heard of Moore’s Law. Gordon Moore published a very short article in 1965 in which he predicted an exponential increase in the number of components that could fit into a single silicone mold. The semiconductor industry took this expectation at face value and managed to pull the same rabbit out of the same hat for 50 years, converting Moore’s predictions into Moore’s Law. Gordon Moore is now 92 years old. He doesn’t travel much and can’t attend the Milestone event, so Ted Huff, one of the engineers for the Intel 4004 microprocessor, spoke in his stead. The Intel 4004 microprocessor is a child of Moore’s Law. (For a more in-depth look at the origins of Moore’s Law, see “Moore’s Law and the Seven Devices. “)

Shockley Semiconductor Laboratory, the birthplace of Silicon Valley

It’s gone now, but the humble one-story building on the corner of San Antonio Road and California Street was the birthplace of Silicon Valley. William Shockley and his team won the 1956 Nobel Prize in Physics for the invention of the transistor. Shockley actually decided to build a company around his invention. In 1955, he returned to his hometown of California, an agricultural region known as “The Valley of Heart’s Joy,” and set up shop at 391 San Antonio Street amid apricot groves in Mountain View, the same city where the Computer History Museum is now located. I visited this historic building shortly before it was demolished. It was a fruit market. Humility is exactly the right word for such a teacher.

Shockley Semiconductor Laboratory is located at 391 San Antonio Avenue. Federico Faggin, the man largely responsible for designing the Intel 4004 microprocessor, founder of Zilog, and designer of the world’s most elegant 8-bit microprocessor – the Z80 – spoke about the birthplace of Silicon Valley during the event. This year Fagen published a book about his personal journey through the dual lenses of Moore’s Law and around Silicon Valley. His book is titled Silicon: From the Invention of the Microprocessor to the New Science of Consciousness. Appropriately, it’s available from Amazon in Paper, Audio, and Kindle formats.

(For more information on the birthplace of Silicon Valley, see “391 San Antonio Road: The House That William Shockley Built (And Destroyed)“.)

Federico Fagin and Brian Berg check out Fagin’s new book, Silicon: From the Invention of the Microprocessor to the New Science of Consciousness, on September 11th the IEEE Milestones event, held at the Computer History Museum in Mountain View, California.

The Apple PC Trinity: Apple I, Apple II, and Macintosh

There is no denying Apple’s place in the development of the personal computer. The Apple I was nothing more than a loaded circuit board. If you were a hobbyist in 1976 or 1977, you could buy that board for $666.66 (Steve Jobs had a cynical sense of humor) and then you could get a keyboard, build an enclosure, and attach a video monitor or TV to the device. Apple announced the most complete, consumer-ready product, the Apple II, on June 10, 1997 and discontinued the Apple I a few months later.

The Apple II launched the PC revolution, in a way that the other big vendors (Tandy TRS-80 and Commodore Pet) didn’t. The Apple I and Apple II were the embodiment of Steve Wozniak’s artistic design intelligence and dedication to elegant simplicity. Seven years later, Apple introduced the Macintosh, which included many of the graphic computing ideas first demonstrated by Doug Engelbart in The Mother of All Demos.

Today, whether you have a Mac or not, you work in the common way by this machine. The Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE) has approved three major milestones, one for each of the three flagship Apple computers. The three panels will be installed on the courtyard wall of the Computer History Museum at a later time, during a separate ceremony.

DIALOG online search system

Long before Google, long before the Web, and long before the Internet, there was DIALOG. DIALOG search algorithms were the subject of Roger Summit’s PhD thesis at Stanford University. He produced DIALOG as Lockheed’s powerful search tool, and then ran it after Lockheed corrupted DIALOG as a separate company. It is still in active use today.

Right from the start, DIALOG has had the ability to frequently revise its search results, something that can’t be easily done in today’s free online search engines. DIALOG has met and continues to serve the needs of a select group of customers, including pharmaceutical companies searching for new drugs, US Patent Office prior art searches, and many entities that need to be researched through technical studies and documents It has been thoroughly checked and is not found on the web.

SPICE, the EDA tool that keeps on giving

SPICE (“Simulation Program with a Focus on Integrated Circuits”) arose from a project of UC Berkeley graduates during the 1969-1970 school year. If the project succeeds, the whole class will get an ‘A’. If you don’t succeed, the whole class will fail. This announcement in the early days of class led to half of the class being vacated as students rushed out of the room to bring down the class. One of the students who never left was Larry Nagel. The class got an “A” and Spice became the subject of his PhD thesis.

The 1973 edition of SPICE consisted of 8000 FORTRAN IV phrases on punched cards, which were in 40,000 words of primary memory when assembled. Extensive exposure from the 1973 conference led to numerous requests for Nagel’s source code, which was distributed by UC Berkeley on 9-track tapes. People all over the world are starting to use Nagel’s code as a starting point for their own projects, so it is very likely that SPICE will be the world’s first successful open source software product. SPICE is still widely used, both directly and under the hood of many EDA tools. (I have my own Spice story, for another time.)

These bronze IEEE Milestone plaques line a brick wall within the pleasant front yard of the Computer History Museum. There is another painting: a special quote for the Computer History Museum. If you are in Mountain View, come take a look. There is plenty of parking. If you want to watch the entire event, click Here for video.

Note: Many thanks to Brian Berg, who organized this event and arranged for IEEE approval of these milestones, and the speaker’s feedback greatly helped create this article. Brian is a spark in Silicon Valley Advisor Networkthat secured this event.

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