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Professor is made Fellow of the Computer History Museum

20 Jan 2012

A University academic has been given a Fellow Award from the Computer History Museum for his outstanding work in computer processing.

Professor Steve Furber
Professor Steve Furber

Professor Steve Furber has been honoured by the museum, the world’s leading institution exploring the history of computing and its ongoing impact on society, for his pioneering work on the ARM processor.

Professor Furber, who is ICL Professor Of Computer Engineering at the University, was honoured alongside fellow chief architect of the ARM processor Sophie Wilson.

Also given Fellow Awards were Edward A. Feigenbaum, pioneer of artificial intelligence and expert systems and Fernando J. Corbató, pioneer of timesharing and the Multics operating system, 

The four Fellows will be inducted into the museum’s Hall of Fellows on Saturday, April 28, 2012, at a formal ceremony where Silicon Valley insiders, technology leaders, and Museum supporters will gather to celebrate the accomplishments of the Fellows and their impact on society.

Professor Furber worked in the research and development group at Acorn Computers Ltd from 1981 to 1990, and was a principal designer of the BBC Microcomputer (1982) and the ARM 32-bit RISC microprocessor.  

He and colleague Sophie Wilson designed the Micro as part of a national TV program on personal computing.  More than a million BBC Micros were sold and used in more than 80% of all U.K. schools.

The pair then co-designed the 32-bit RISC Machine processor (1985) to address a need at Acorn for a new microprocessor that outperformed any then-commercially available product.

The ARM processor core is now used in thousands of different products, from mobile phones and tablets to digital televisions and video games.  It features greatly reduced power usage relative to other microprocessor designs and has enabled the mobile revolution in computing. 

The number of ARM processor cores now shipped exceeds 30 billion, or more than four ARM microprocessors for every person on earth.

Professor Furber’s current research interests include the SpiNNaker project, which seeks to emulate a small portion of the human brain using one million ARM processor cores.

He said: “It is staggering to look at the scale of the ARM processor business today, which started from small seeds that I was privileged to help sow 30 years ago.

“Of course, today’s success reflects the sustained effort of very many people since my early contribution, but it is very rewarding to see how wherever I go in the world I can see ARM-powered products in use all around me, and of course the ARM has remained central to my research at Manchester.”

This year’s celebration commemorates the 25th Anniversary of the Fellow Awards and will reunite pioneers from more than two decades.

The Fellow Awards bring to life the Computer History Museum’s mission to preserve and present the artifacts and stories of the information age.

The tradition began with the Museum’s first Fellow, Grace Murray Hopper, and has grown to a distinguished and select group of 54 members. This award represents the highest achievement in computing, honoring the people who have forever changed the world with their innovations.

“The Fellows program recognizes the leading figures of the information age – men and women who have shaped the computing revolution and changed the world forever,” said John Hollar, Museum President and CEO. “The Fellows are a tremendously distinguished group, and we are honored to celebrate their work and achievements.”
 

Notes for editors

Professor Furber is available for interview on request.

Images are available from the Press Office

For more details on the Computer History Museum visit www.computerhistory.org

For media enquiries please contact:

Daniel Cochlin
Media Relations Officer
The University of Manchester
0161 275 8387
daniel.cochlin@manchester.ac.uk