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Author Topic: What delineates the historic era from which steampunk was derived?  (Read 1390 times)
von Corax
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« Reply #25 on: April 10, 2015, 02:44:45 pm »

Microcode:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Microcode

Something that I learned in college computer science courses; as a shortcut to building a CPU, there is sometimes a sub-machine code interpreter. This allows the engineer to build a simpler processor that performs idiosyncratic instructions, then use these idiosyncratic instructions to interpret the more reasonable machine instructions. There is a trade-off of speed in exchange for simplicity of engineering.

This is hardcore computer science esoterica; not covered in regular programming courses, but if y had to build a useful computer from mechanical parts, a microcode architecture would probably save you a lot of headaches.


So it would be a risc, but possibly a worthwhile one? Roll Eyes
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Banfili
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« Reply #26 on: April 11, 2015, 08:10:21 am »

If the Greeks had used Hero/n of Alexander's steam engine as something more than a toy, and industrialised their liking for automata, who knows where we would have been by now. Don't think you can define Steampunk by the steam engine, has to be something more, um, esoteric, perhaps.
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J. Wilhelm
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« Reply #27 on: April 11, 2015, 08:22:29 am »

Microcode:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Microcode

Something that I learned in college computer science courses; as a shortcut to building a CPU, there is sometimes a sub-machine code interpreter. This allows the engineer to build a simpler processor that performs idiosyncratic instructions, then use these idiosyncratic instructions to interpret the more reasonable machine instructions. There is a trade-off of speed in exchange for simplicity of engineering.

This is hardcore computer science esoterica; not covered in regular programming courses, but if y had to build a useful computer from mechanical parts, a microcode architecture would probably save you a lot of headaches.


So it would be a risc, but possibly a worthwhile one? Roll Eyes


Auurrgh!  Nerd humour!  Grin
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RJBowman
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« Reply #28 on: April 11, 2015, 02:37:32 pm »

Hero's steam engine didn't have enough power to do much of anything useful. The Greeks would have had to have developed pistons.
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von Corax
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« Reply #29 on: April 11, 2015, 05:34:18 pm »

I think that was Banfili's point - they could have developed the principle into something useful, but they didn't. Same with their holy-water vending machines and hydraulic temple doors.

This raises an interesting point. The Greeks were great theorists, but aside from Archimedes of Syracuse they did sod all to apply it. Had they been more willing to do things with their new-found knowledge of the universe, would we be ατμού πανκ instead of Steampunks?
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RJBowman
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« Reply #30 on: April 11, 2015, 10:54:57 pm »

The theory is that because slave labor was so readily available, the ancients never developed labor-saving devices.
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von Corax
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« Reply #31 on: April 12, 2015, 01:59:20 am »

Quite. Not much point in saving someone else's labour, especially when you ain't payin' for it anyway.
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Smaggers
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« Reply #32 on: April 14, 2015, 07:13:18 pm »

Microcode:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Microcode

Something that I learned in college computer science courses; as a shortcut to building a CPU, there is sometimes a sub-machine code interpreter. This allows the engineer to build a simpler processor that performs idiosyncratic instructions, then use these idiosyncratic instructions to interpret the more reasonable machine instructions. There is a trade-off of speed in exchange for simplicity of engineering.

This is hardcore computer science esoterica; not covered in regular programming courses, but if y had to build a useful computer from mechanical parts, a microcode architecture would probably save you a lot of headaches.


Have you had a look at the specs for the Analytical Engine? In some ways it reminds me of the 6502 processor, (obviously a little bit bigger though).
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