DATE: Thursday, September 27, 2001
TIME: Noon - 1 pm
PLACE: Wean Hall 8220

Ray Holt
Cornerstone Computers

Microprocessor Design and Development for the US Navy F14 FighterJet

The commercial microprocessor has been credited as “invented” by Intel Corp with the introduction of the 4004 in 1972. However, quietly leading up to this development were many attempts to put more and more computer logic onto silicon chips. Most of these attempts were only paper designs. The F14 Central Air Data Computer (CADC) was one attempt that accomplished its goal and pushed the technology envelope beyond what was expect in the late ‘60s. Not only did it put the first programmable central processor units onto large-scale silicon, it did it in a hostile military environment. The computer design features of the CADC were many, including math co-processing, parallel processing, execution pipelining, built-in programmed self-test and redundacy, while yet accomplishing the rigorous requirements of controlling the F14 airplane during combat fighting. A difficult three-year development cycle resulted in the first “fly-by-wire” flight computer. Shrouded in secrecy for over 30 years, this accomplishment was not publically known until 1998 at which time, at the request of Mr. Ray Holt, the US Navy allowed the documents into the public domain. Since then many debates have argued that this was, in fact, the first microprocessor.

Mr. Ray Holt a graduate of California Polytechnical University in 1968 began his computer design career with the F14 CADC. As a microprocessor designer for American MicroSystem he helped develop microprocessor designs for calculators and many other commercial applications. Co-founding Microcomputer Associates, Inc. in 1974 he designed several early microcomputers systems including the JOLT and SYM, as well as the first microprocessor controlled pin ball game, many industrial control applications, and inspired the first Radio Shack computer. Mr. Holt continued his career as an Engineering Vice-President for Honeywell Corp, and, since 1980, a software distributor, computer retailer, and systems integrator for his own company, Cornerstone Computers. Currently, Mr. Holt is heavily involved in Internet Marketing and Promotion. Mr Holt has a B.S. degree in Electronic Engineering from Cal Poly and a M.S. degree in Computer Science from Santa Clara University.

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