The Mighty Megaprocessor

OK, this is cool! I can’t say that I want one—but I would love to visit it to admire the shear “wondrous insanity” of this guy.

As Steven Cass puts it, a monument to our kind of crazy

Sensei James Newman, a man with time and space to burn, has built a fully functioning 16-bit “microprocessor”, blown up to macroscopic scale!

The Megaprocessor.

Motivated by curiosity, Newman built all the components, to implement a simple instruction set, registers, and memory.  The resulting beast is 10m long and 2m tall, with 40,000 transistors and even more LEDs. Evidently he also wrote an assembler and simulator, as well. Phew!

Giants walk amongst us!

The resulting processor is far less capable than the computer in a smart watch, yet consuming much more power and taking up much more space!

Newton plans to prepare some tutorial walk throughs, to explain how everything works, and how to build it from the ground up. Very cool!

One thing that is interesting is that this is project is that it is a sort of walk-in, whole body computer—unlike tiny, sealed chips, you get a really visceral grasp of how things work and what is happening.

But this is far, far from “invisible” computing, and certainly not wearable! Actually, it wears you!

And, by the way, there is no touch screen!


The Megacomputer is to appear in the Centre for Computing History at Cambridge.


  1. Stephen Cass, The megaprocessor. IEEE Spectrum, 53 (10):19-20, 2016.

 

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