[SIGCIS-Members] Importance of history to practitioners

Hansen Hsu hansnhsu at gmail.com
Thu Nov 17 14:20:29 PST 2016

I’m curious, what do people on this list think of the historical sections in Patterson and Hennesy’s Computer Organization and Design: The Hardware/Software Interface and Hennesy and Patterson’s Computer Architecture: A Quantitative Approach? Those seem to follow the kinds of historical asides in physics textbooks.
Of course, it’s history from a particular polemical perspective, how did computer architectures evolve from ENIAC up through the epitome of CISC designs, VAX, and how RISC represents a new approach beyond this. But it’s better than nothing.

When I took CS152 as an undergrad at Berkeley in 1998, we weren’t assigned to read any of those historical chapters at all, except for a small aside on what an accumulator architecture was. It left me largely ignorant of computer history.
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