|The Computing Dysplasia Syndrome|
Throughout the history of computing many decisions started fundamentally wrong developments finally causing
a damage of thousands of billions of Dollars.For details
1) Computers with von Neumann machine paradigm replace the massively more efficient data stream machines.
around 1945. Now we are moving back to efficiency and low power by the anti-machine and reconfigurable computing.
2) Processors with complex x86 instruction set replace compiler-friendly stack computers.
leading to unnecessary complexity, also by having been mapped onto poor and inappropriate platforms.
3) The verbose low level language C and its dialects replace programming languages Pascal and PL-I (Fig. 1).
4) The UNIX operating systems with massive complexity problems replaces MULTICS (not commented here).
5) Problematic Biploar transistors
transistors invented more than a decade earlier
This decision was corrected 1980 by the Mead-&-Conway revolution, moving back to MOS dominance.
6) The hardware description language VHDL replaces KARL used world-wide. The commission of the EU
stopped funding ( see http://xputers.de/CSELT/ and http://xputer.de/victim/ ), because in 1987, a request from the
U.S. Department of Defense (DoD) led to the development of VHDL (VHSIC Hardware Description Language,
where VHSIC is Very High Speed Integrated Circuit), based on the Ada programming language. For details on
VHDL Disadvantages are (also see fig. 2):
VHDL is verbose, complicated and confusing and provides different ways of saying the same thing
Similar purpose constructs have very different syntax and Similar syntax constructs have very different semantics.
Often the synthesized hardware is not obvious from the VHDL description
Different tools support different subsets of VHDL and generate different circuits for same code
Some VHDL programs cannot be synthesized
The most dramatic disadvantage of using VHDL to configure FPGAs is the very weak programmer productivity
For transfer of legacy software to FPGAs (needed to save power) the detour over VHDL is extremely inefficient.
Compilers for direct generation of configuration code from software sources would be massively more efficient.
7) The never-ending software crisis: complex and difficult to analyze (not commented here).
Figure 1; courtesy of Harold "Bud" Lawson
Figure 2; courtesy of Richard Newton
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