3.4 Third Generation (1963-1972)



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3.4 Third Generation (1963-1972)

  The third generation brought huge gains in computational power. Innovations in this era include the use of integrated circuits, or ICs (semiconductor devices with several transistors built into one physical component), semiconductor memories starting to be used instead of magnetic cores, microprogramming as a technique for efficiently designing complex processors, the coming of age of pipelining and other forms of parallel processing (described in detail in Chapter CA), and the introduction of operating systems and time-sharing.

The first ICs were based on small-scale integration (SSI) circuits, which had around 10 devices per circuit (or ``chip''), and evolved to the use of medium-scale integrated (MSI) circuits, which had up to 100 devices per chip. Multilayered printed circuits were developed and core memory was replaced by faster, solid state memories. Computer designers began to take advantage of parallelism by using multiple functional units, overlapping CPU and I/O operations, and pipelining (internal parallelism) in both the instruction stream and the data stream. In 1964, Seymour Cray developed the CDC 6600, which was the first architecture to use functional parallelism. By using 10 separate functional units that could operate simultaneously and 32 independent memory banks, the CDC 6600 was able to attain a computation rate of 1 million floating point operations per second (1 Mflops). Five years later CDC released the 7600, also developed by Seymour Cray. The CDC 7600, with its pipelined functional units, is considered to be the first vector processor and was capable of executing at 10 Mflops. The IBM 360/91, released during the same period, was roughly twice as fast as the CDC 660. It employed instruction look ahead, separate floating point and integer functional units and pipelined instruction stream. The IBM 360-195 was comparable to the CDC 7600, deriving much of its performance from a very fast cache memory. The SOLOMON computer, developed by Westinghouse Corporation, and the ILLIAC IV, jointly developed by Burroughs, the Department of Defense and the University of Illinois, were representative of the first parallel computers. The Texas Instrument Advanced Scientific Computer (TI-ASC) and the STAR-100 of CDC were pipelined vector processors that demonstrated the viability of that design and set the standards for subsequent vector processors.

Early in the this third generation Cambridge and the University of London cooperated in the development of CPL (Combined Programming Language, 1963). CPL was, according to its authors, an attempt to capture only the important features of the complicated and sophisticated ALGOL. However, like ALGOL, CPL was large with many features that were hard to learn. In an attempt at further simplification, Martin Richards of Cambridge developed a subset of CPL called BCPL (Basic Computer Programming Language, 1967). In 1970 Ken Thompson of Bell Labs developed yet another simplification of CPL called simply B, in connection with an early implementation of the UNIX operating system. comment):


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Next: 3.5 Fourth Generation (1972-1984) Up: 3 A Brief History Previous: 3.3 Second Generation (1954-1962)



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