Considering the expense, precision and difficulty of manufacturing computer chips, you would think the engineers designing them are pretty serious people.
But it’s not all business inside a chip fab, as these microscope photos reveal. In fact, the designers of microchips frequently hide tiny cartoons, drawings and even messages alongside the super-tiny circuits and semiconductors they create.… Read the rest
If you wish to compose an e-mail, index a database of web pages, stream a kitten video in 720p or render an explosion at 60 frames per second, you must first build a computer.
And to build a computer, you must first design and fabricate the tiny processors that rapidly churn through the millions of discrete computational steps behind every one of those digital actions, taking a new step approximately 3 billion times per second.… Read the rest
1954: IBM builds the first calculating machine to use solid-state transistors instead of vacuum tubes.
IBM already had a business selling calculating machines, and it was humming along quite nicely. The IBM 604 Electronic Calculating Punch, which IBM introduced in 1948, was a desk-sized cabinet that ate and spat out punch cards in its single-minded mission of calculating math problems — 20 to 40 addition, subtraction, multiplication or division problems for each card.… Read the rest