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Old 01-03-2019, 09:55 AM   #21
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write a program on paper in machine code, then enter it using the switches on the front of the panel. Then run it, with the output being the lights on the front of the panel.
Great memory. That's how we had to boot the Univac 1050-II.
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Old 01-03-2019, 10:40 AM   #22
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Or better yet, machine code. We had an old PDP-8 computer at my college, and our assignment was to write a program on paper in machine code, then enter it using the switches on the front of the panel. Then run it, with the output being the lights on the front of the panel. I learned more doing that assignment than one could ever imagine.
In my assembly class we had one assignment that was all done in machine code. Just a bunch of DCs. That class shook out all the people who didn't get it.

I was an assembly programmer and we would frequently patch modules in machine code. The folks I worked with were all of the same skillset. Having the source code was a luxary. There was a time when Megacorp couldn't reassemble the production source and have it generate the production binaries. A few of us were put in a corner until we could recreate it.
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Old 01-03-2019, 11:09 AM   #23
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But let's face it. We're not going to turn back the clock and have people flipping switches at a console to enter programs. (Yes, I did that too.) What we need is good education about what happens.

One very good thing my Megacorp did in recent years was open up internal tech education to engineers after a few years of freeze. It was a good investment. We were encouraged to take python class. The instructor they hired was excellent.

He created a 3 line program that did a boatload of stuff. You can do that in python easily by "dotting on" functions to operations in a form of object based programming. So he said, looks efficient, right? Nope. We then examined the bytecode, then compiled the bytecode (instead of interpreting) and looked at the ultimate disassemble. What a monster! I lot of the younger set in the class were amazed and really took the lesson to heart.

So, they just became aware of what they were doing. What I think is happening a lot is this kind of education isn't occurring for the most part, and programs are just bloating like mad when the foundational concepts are not taught.
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data entry in ' Data Processing 101"
Old 01-03-2019, 11:12 AM   #24
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data entry in ' Data Processing 101"

Had to wrangle with one of these in J.C. , then a stack of cards handed to the 360 operator.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Keypunch

Quickly deduced I wasn't cut out to be a COBOL or Assembler programmer

Briefly worked for a now defunct computer co, machine language programming was part of the job. Washed out quickly . Mind numbing work for me. Some folks liked it.
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Old 01-03-2019, 11:16 AM   #25
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This kind of reminds me of driving cars.

Model T: manual gear selection, manual timing adjustment, hand throttle.

20's: manual gear selection with rev matching, foot throttle. Automatic timing! Brakes and steering manual. Choke start.

40's: synchromesh gear shifting! Brakes and steering manual. Choke start.

50's: automatic gear shifting! High end cars have power steering and brakes. Automatic choking.

70's: only the cheap cars have manual tranny, steering, brakes, choke.

90's: convenience features added, all else automatic.

10's: auto lane control, braking, etc.

We're not going back. One could argue if you got rid of all that "crap", the car would be 1000 lbs less and have less environmental impact. Not going to happen.
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Old 01-03-2019, 12:06 PM   #26
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The next big jump is quantum computing.
It is and yet it isn't. We'll only know when we get there.
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Old 01-03-2019, 12:11 PM   #27
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Programmers as you define them are a dime a dozen. But good software designers are scarce.
True. Coding is only half the battle. Making it usable is a totally different thing.

I've seen this deteriorate a lot. We used to have users who would use a stopwatch, and complain if some process took a fraction of a second longer than it used to. And they were right. If you do the same thing 1,000 times a day, doing it even a little quicker adds up.

Fast forward to now. Software is spit out without any consideration for the efficiency of use. Want to process something? Sure. Click here. Dismiss this dialog. Drag there. Take your hand off the mouse and move over to the keyboard. Then back to the mouse. Repeat a dozen times. That's all it takes! Easy, huh?

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In my assembly class we had one assignment that was all done in machine code. Just a bunch of DCs. That class shook out all the people who didn't get it.
I had to write a database program in assembly class. The whole thing, input, storage, retrieval, display. Made me realize how inefficient some of the database systems I'd work with later really were.

I knew a guy at another MegaCorp who told me his hiring strategy. He'd give the candidate a compiler print-out, and ask what the program did. He dismissed out of hand the clowns who looked only at the comment lines. The ones who looked at the source code interested him. But the ones who looked at the machine code over on the right-hand side, those were the space-men he wanted! He would have hired me, and it would have been fun to work for him, but the commute to his company would have been brutal.
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Old 01-03-2019, 12:46 PM   #28
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Fast forward to now. Software is spit out without any consideration for the efficiency of use. Want to process something? Sure. Click here. Dismiss this dialog. Drag there. Take your hand off the mouse and move over to the keyboard. Then back to the mouse. Repeat a dozen times. That's all it takes! Easy, huh?
A rare bird is a software coder who is also a good user interface designer. Some of the best user interface designers are not strong coders. Good teams and corporations recognize this.

I will say that I don't necessarily like the radical simplification of some UI's that have been all the rage since the iPod came out. The pendulum may have swung too far in one direction. But you have a point. The ones in the other direction can drive you crazy.
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Old 01-03-2019, 04:12 PM   #29
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I will say that I don't necessarily like the radical simplification of some UI's that have been all the rage since the iPod came out. The pendulum may have swung too far in one direction. But you have a point. The ones in the other direction can drive you crazy.
I think we're saying the same thing. The problem is dumbing down the program to get good reviews by beginners or journalists, rather than meeting the needs of the real users who are going to have to run the thing, day in and day out.

Something can be so simple to use that it does nothing. Sometimes, the job you're trying to accomplish is complicated, and overly simplified software only makes it harder.
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Old 01-03-2019, 04:23 PM   #30
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What an honor! Are you able to post links to the interviews, or is that Intel internal use only?

Too bad he has Parkinson's, looks like the medication is slowing his speech a bit. Hope he stays strong for a long time yet.

-ERD50
It was fun. There wasn't much more to the interview cause his son had asked to keep it short. As soon as it gets posted. I'll send you a link.
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Old 01-03-2019, 06:26 PM   #31
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I think we're saying the same thing. The problem is dumbing down the program to get good reviews by beginners or journalists, rather than meeting the needs of the real users who are going to have to run the thing, day in and day out.

Something can be so simple to use that it does nothing. Sometimes, the job you're trying to accomplish is complicated, and overly simplified software only makes it harder.

Yes! We are talking about the same thing. Some of the phone apps expect you to know the magic gesture to get something to happen. Even then, you may be SOL. There is simple and clean, and then there is clean and dumb.


I was also thinking back a way where it was the opposite. You'd have everything available, but it took 5 cascades of a pulldown to do anything. Your mouse slips, and you choose the wrong thing. That was bad too.
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Old 01-03-2019, 08:31 PM   #32
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From what I understand there's still a few generations 'assured' in the pipeline, up to 2025 or so. This includes new techniques like gate-all-around.

The shrinking game is as good as over though after the current step. Still lots to be done in economic efficiency (and yields) I believe.

On the other hand, if you look at the raw computing power available per $ (or watt), we are where we need to be pretty much for every single application there is, including simulating a complete human brain for a few hundred dollars. Strong statement, I know.

The problem is in the architectures (not just software). A properly designed for purpose chip can beat a generic one easily by a factor of 100. We just don't know what architectures are best yet or how to program for them.

Quantum is nowhere near practical use yet, and won't ever be useful but for a handful of problems.
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Old 01-03-2019, 08:32 PM   #33
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It is and yet it isn't. We'll only know when we get there.
You'll change the outcome by getting there!
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Old 01-03-2019, 10:14 PM   #34
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Only know device physics and transistor design for dummies, but over the course of 30+ years in semiconductor process development, aka “wafer bitch”, I helped develop and/or implement various processes, from APCVD doped SiO2 using 100% silane and phosphine (flame deposition!) to ALD Hi-K metal gate using HfO2 and all sorts in between. Did single wafer plasma processing on “homemade” reactors before the AMAT P5000 came along. Was still doing litho with an old Karl Suss contact printer in a university lab when I retired (and still in use). In my early days, poly-si was 450nm, and 256k DRAM was high-tech. I remember a first 1meg DRAM celebration around ‘86. Near the end of my alleged career at Megacorp, copper, dual damascene, and dielectrics containing carbon and/or a nano-porous structure were being implemented on 140nm pitch interconnect.

Was fun, for a while!
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Old 01-04-2019, 12:06 AM   #35
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..... I helped develop and/or implement various processes, from APCVD doped SiO2 using 100% silane and phosphine .......

Was fun, for a while!
Aren't those chemicals known as " One Step " you know, get it on you or in in your lungs and you get one step away and then drop dead ?
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Old 01-04-2019, 12:52 AM   #36
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Aren't those chemicals known as " One Step " you know, get it on you or in in your lungs and you get one step away and then drop dead ?

Heh...

Though silane is more noted for its pyrophoric qualities.

Toxic, explosive, corrosive, oxidizing, ionizing, you name it, we used it!

I have some stories...
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Old 01-04-2019, 06:41 AM   #37
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I always thought the Programming 101 class should be Assembler.
We had a computer running Watfor is our engineering lab. I would enter two instructions in octal and cause the computer to read cards and write to the printer. Everyone was impressed!
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Old 01-04-2019, 06:47 AM   #38
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There's a corollary to Moore's Law named after Digital Equipment's Gordon Bell, which says every decade a hundredfold drop in the price of processing power engenders a new computer architecture. Mainframes to PCs to the cloud to what next?
Well Honeywell (remember them?) has introduced their quantum computer:

https://www.honeywell.com/newsroom/n...antum computer

The success of the cloud enables this approach.

They are building a 480000 sq.ft. production facility on the outskirts of Denver (on the former StorageTech property).
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Old 01-04-2019, 09:49 AM   #39
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On the other hand, if you look at the raw computing power available per $ (or watt), we are where we need to be pretty much for every single application there is, including simulating a complete human brain for a few hundred dollars. Strong statement, I know.

The problem is in the architectures (not just software). A properly designed for purpose chip can beat a generic one easily by a factor of 100. We just don't know what architectures are best yet or how to program for them.
Yep, agree.

The market also weighs into this. The architectures are boxed into the paradigm of laptops, phones, servers, etc. And the architecture has to be backward compatible, sometimes to the dark ages. Just moving data around inside these chips is a challenge.

At Mega, we did some really interesting stuff with custom architectures. Problem is that the market is limited and producing such is very expensive. It helps if 1000s of other applications can be grafted onto the architecture, otherwise nobody wants to produce it.

That's the beauty of Moore's law. Vacuum tubes -> transistors -> semiconductors had millions of applications.
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Old 01-04-2019, 10:34 AM   #40
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Ah the memories... (pun intended)


Just think, or cringe, at what computing could do if all these gigabytes and gigahertz where used as efficiently as the 16KB of memory on the lunar lander. With the plans for AI and surveillance systems maybe all the bloatware is a good thing.


When I left Megacorp, our distributed storage system was being used by No Such Agency and cities like NYC to record every license plate image that rolled past their cameras and keep those images on-line (fast access, not archived to tape) for 5 years. I always felt like I needed to take a shower after helping make their systems work better.


Our CEOs response to the ethical questions raised: "If we don't build it, somebody else will".
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