Why is it important to know the history of computers?

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Mudassir Ali
Feb 04, 2020 02:49 PM 0 Answers
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Mudassir Ali
- Feb 04, 2020 02:50 PM

Firstly it lets you have something to stand on in case you have to design a system. What has been done well, what has been done wrong, usual problems and how were they solved.

Also, because of how underpowered earlier systems were they had a lot of creativity and though in them, certainly a fair ammount of genius, and knowing that gives you more tools for a practical (and affordable) approach.

It also keeps you out of the mistakes of the past, for example:

In the early 70s something marvelous was invented: Microcode. The ability to have an architecture encoded in software on top of a simpler, standard chip, had a lot if uses. If you needed a more complex instruction set you could just code it instead of designing and manufacturing a new chip.

The drawback: It was slower, and as more and more microcode was implemented this monster grew too big and computers were stalling. So here comes the solution: Implementing the instructions in hardware instead of via microcode! This solution brought computer back to speed by basically doing things the old way.

There are a few more examples of this pattern so knowing computer history lets you identify them.

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