Harvard vs. vonNeuman ... was Re: Early computers was Re: Relay computers

From: Tom Jennings <tomj_at_wps.com>
Date: Mon Sep 27 15:15:51 2004

re: Zuse, and stored-program, etc...

> On Sun, 2004-09-26 at 01:37, Hans B PUFAL wrote:
> This web page also seems apropro :
> http://irb.cs.tu-berlin.de/~zuse/Konrad_Zuse/Neumann_vs_Zuse.html

First, I don't mean to disparage Zuse's accomplishments, especially
under the circumstances he lived in, it's pretty amazing.

The idea-of-the-century wasn't machines that calculate automatically,
but machines-that-modify-themselves-as-part-of-normal-operation. Other
than particular logical arrangement, I don't see how the Zuse machines
are an architectural improvement over the IBM and Harvard relay

In many ways it's an unfair comparison, the IBM machines had a nearly
unlimited budget, and poor Konrad sat by himself in his living room
punching programs into used 35mm film stock, never mind the war going on
around him.

Less well-known but historically more interesting is his 'planKalculus',
his algorithmic nomenclature he worked up to describe computer
programs. He even had chess-playing code! It's described in fair detail
in A HIST. OF COMP. 20TH CENT. (1980, MIT press) by Knuth.

(For the record, PICs are "Harvard architecture"; data and program
memory are separate. "von Neumann architecture" is program and data
stored in the same memory.)
Received on Mon Sep 27 2004 - 15:15:51 BST

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