Microcomputers As A Space Spinoff
I recently bought, cheap, second-hand, an old issue of a British astronomy magazine. It had reviews of the Meade RCX400 telescope, and the Cape Newise telescope, both very interesting telescopes with unique optical systems.
I also saw an op-ed piece about how computers would be behemoths that filled rooms if it hadn't been for the Apollo space program.
I feel that I know better than that.
Microcomputers As A Space Spinoff 3835
This has been discussed here before. While NASA certainly bought a decent number of early IC's, it was...
Computers are small because it is possible to make them from integrated circuits. Why do we have integrated circuits?
Well, because someone invented them. Two patent applications were filed on the IC; the one filed later became a patent first, and that was back in 1961. As you know, the transistor was invented in 1948, and that was before Sputnik.
Display memory types was: Microcomputers As A Space Spinoff
John Savard The CTC Datapoint 3300 terminal used MOS shift registers for the character memory...
What inspired one Robert Noyce to invent a fairly modern-looking integrated circuit? The planar transistor, which was fabricated using a similar process. And what inspired the invention of the planar transistor? Companies looking for better or cheaper transistors to cell.
There were many kinds of transistors; one, called a surface-barrier transistor, was invented at Philco, and led to them selling a line of faster big mainframe computers. But transistors were used in hearing aids and transistor radios.
Robert Goddard invented the liquid-fueled rocket, and he did dream of space. So did von Braun and companies, but we all know how the rockets he worked on in the early part of his career were misused.
What was the early market for integrated circuits? It was the Minuteman missile program that created a demand for integrated circuits in the early days when SSI integrated circuits, on sale for pennies in the late 1970s, cost instead on the order of $1,000 each.
And we also know that the *present* operation of Moore's Law is fueled by Consumer Debt sales of newer, faster computers - driven by fancier operating systems, so that computer companies won't have to have mbuttive layoffs due to market saturation.
Microcomputers As A Space Spinoff 3837
On Wed, 05 Jul 2006 12:02:41 -0500 Just each row, hitting a row refreshed the entire row. Early DRAMS it was every 2ms, later ones pushed it to 4ms spec...
It seems to me, therefore, that integrated circuits would have been invented anyways. It may be that without the Cold War, they wouldn't have become affordable quickly. But when it became possible, manufacturers made their giant mainframe computers more powerful by using integrated circuits - IBM at first going half-way with a non-monolithic integrated circuit known as "Solid Logic Technology". Smaller and cheaper electronic devices would have been attractive in any case, and thus research on an affordable integrated circuit would likely have continued in the absence of even the Minuteman program. It just helped the microcomputer revolution happen sooner.
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