CREATIVE COMPUTING VOL. 10, NO. 8 / AUGUST 1984 / PAGE 119
The first non-Von Neumann computer.
NEC has developed the world's first non-Von Neumann microprocessor chip, an image pipelined processor uPD7281D, for the purpose of image processing.
The chip is only seven millimeters square, yet it has the capability of a much larger and faster processor. Moreover, the cost is only about $225, less than one percent of the cost of current computers dedicated to image processing. "Pipelined" refers to the design approach which permits setting at the beginning the commands for reading and processing the succeeding data. In addition, the pipeline can simultaneously process many commands; thus it is considered a non-Von Neumann design.
Currently, processors for image processing are built with ten or more separate printed circuit boards. These are replaced by this single "super LSI" chip. Circuit width is a submicroscopic. 1.75 microns, and the chip contains the equivalent of 115,000 transistors.
Initially, the chip will be used for applications that require the processing of large amounts of image data at very high speeds such as weather satellites and resource research satellites. It is also expected that the chip can be used in certain aspects of the Fifth Generation Project,
Recently, NEC also showed the world's smallest satellite-borne computer, the OBC- 1. The computer measures 22 x 17 x 7.7cm., weighs 2.1 kilograms, and draws five watts. In comparison to the IBM computer used on the space shuttle, the OBC-1 weighs one-third as much and draws one-tenth as much power.
The few specifications that have been published don't sound much different from a small personal computer: 16K CMOS static ROM (expandable to 32K), LSI cpu and memory. A special power strobe system applies power to the system only when it is required, thus cutting power consumption enormously.