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The Cult of Posits

Computers are incapable of representing arbitrary real numbers exactly. This is due to two intractable facts of real numbers: Uncountably Infinite Domain: There are an infinite number of real numbers.Uncountably Infinite Precision: Some real numbers require infinite precision.Since computers use a finite number of bits, computer architects must settle on capturing a finite number ofContinue reading “The Cult of Posits”

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Inside the Apple-1’s unusual MOS clock driver chip

Apple’s first product was the Apple-1 computer, introduced in 1976. This early microcomputer used an unusual type of storage for its display: shift register memory. Instead of storing data in RAM (random-access memory), it was stored in a 1024-position shift register. You put a bit into the shift register and 1024 clock cycles later, theContinue reading “Inside the Apple-1’s unusual MOS clock driver chip”

The Three Pillars of Reproducible Builds

Over the past year, software engineers have lived through the shock of infiltrated or intentionally broken NPM packages, supply chain attacks, long-unnoticed backdoors, and more. This has created a firestorm of activity around how to securely build software. Many organizations, from the Linux Foundation to the United States government, are calling for and building newContinue reading “The Three Pillars of Reproducible Builds”

Abstractions, Their Algorithms, and Their Compilers

Computational thinking, which centers around devising abstractions for problems so they can be solved with computational steps and efficient algorithms, is a concept that serves not only computer science (CS) but progressively more of science and everyday life. After Jeannette Wing published her influential paper on computational thinking, the discussion of computational thinking has greatlyContinue reading “Abstractions, Their Algorithms, and Their Compilers”

Computer Life at 800MHz

Using a Sony Vaio VGN-P588E for the past few months as our primary personal laptop. This thing’s great; it’s got a small but not uncomfortable keyboard. It’s got a trackpoint, which we absolutely need to keep our hands healthy. Crucially, it’s only 1.5 pounds. We’re disabled in a way that means we’ve got to careContinue reading “Computer Life at 800MHz”