50 Years Of Silicon - 1961 Singing Computer

Max Mathews had a hand in it      27/04/11

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 The 25th April 2011,  saw the marking of 50 years of silicon in the use of integrated circuit. The process was attirbuted to Robert Noyce and resulted in immediate advances in computing power.

But now it seems this tech is beginning to slow its rate of advancement, with the current crop  transistors are a mere 100-150 atoms across, the laws of physics are starting to make their limitations felt. Moores law states that:

"The number of transistors that can be placed inexpensively on an integrated circuit doubles approximately every two years. This trend has continued for more than half a century and is expected to continue until 2015 or 2020 or later"

Essentially, this has meant a doubling of available computing power every two years and has proved to be uncannilly accurate even though it was initially written by Intel co-founder Gordon E. Moore in 1965.

To continue at this rate, we will need to see advancements in both software and processor technology - who knows what it will be - Neural network computing, organic processors - there are plenty of candidates. But lets just go back to 1961 and enjoy the excellent work of the team who put the most powerful IBM machines to work on "Daisy Bell" and become the first ever computer to sing.

 Vocals were programmed by John Kelly and Carol Lockbaum and the accompaniment was programmed by Max Mathews who recently passed away aged 70. Max was responsible for much innovation in computer music - indeed, Cycling'74 programming environment MAX was named after him.



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