The death of the little 8 bitters was announced several years ago, yet they still appear to be quite live with ever expanding capability. Guess they never saw their obit, much like Mark Twains quote on the exaggeration of the rumors of his death! As far as making life easier for engineers and programmers however I will disagree. The reason is with every expansion of technology comes ever more complex solutions, and with it, ever more headaches to the designer. Think autonomous cars for example, then the redundancy that must be built into them. Engineering was never easy and will not be easy in the future. In the 60s we used two transistors to make one flip flop, thus 36 bit registers took a lot of parts. Sixty-four k "core" stacks were huge and expensive, but today I whine about having "only" 16GB in my machine.
Will 32 bit machines be replaced by 64 bit? How about 128 bit guys with far more and faster registers? What are the practical limits to bus width? ASCII is still 8 bits wide.
I have been reading a lot on load sharing processor arrays lately. Sort of like multitasking in hardware. I'm not quite ready to send my 8 bit stuff to the Smithsonian quite yet. We always live in an age of discovery and I'm very happy to be alive today.
Hi, naperlou. Right you are. And the 32-bit devices have more types of communication peripherals, too--CAN, Ethernet, USB, SPI. I2C, etc., so chip creators have moved even more hardware onto silicon. That effort makes life easier for engineers and programmers.
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For industrial control applications, or even a simple assembly line, that machine can go almost 24/7 without a break. But what happens when the task is a little more complex? That’s where the “smart” machine would come in. The smart machine is one that has some simple (or complex in some cases) processing capability to be able to adapt to changing conditions. Such machines are suited for a host of applications, including automotive, aerospace, defense, medical, computers and electronics, telecommunications, consumer goods, and so on. This discussion will examine what’s possible with smart machines, and what tradeoffs need to be made to implement such a solution.