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From Cambridge Processor to Acorn to Arm, 40 years ago today 5 December, 1978 #VintageComputing #Acorn @ARM

Acorn Computer BBC

On this day in 1978, a small company was born called Cambridge Processor Unit Ltd. (CPU), which a number of days later formed Acorn Computer, Ltd (Acorn). The units were established by Clive Sinclair and Hermann Hauser.

The company grew, and developed the famous BBC micro by December 1981. The company became Acorn Computer Group in 1983. Looking for their own processor to compete with the 6502 (in Apple, Commodore, etc.), they worked with VLSI Technology, Inc. to develop their first RISC chip, the ARM1 (ARM standing for Acorn RISC Machine).

Principal creators of the BBC micro in 2008, some 26 years after its release
Principal creators of the BBC micro in 2008, some 26 years after its release, source: Wikipedia from Jem Stone from Chailey – BBC Micro CC BY 2.0

Advanced RISC Machines Ltd was founded in November 1990 and structured as a joint venture between Acorn Computers, Apple Computer (now Apple Inc.) and VLSI Technology. They developed successful RISC chip designs to license for manufacture.

And Arm Holdings today has become the largest developer and technical intellectual property distributor in the world as nearly all phones and tablets as well as microcontrollers use Arm chips at their heart.

Happy 40th Birthday CPU/Acorn, and thank you for your vision and your contributions to science and our daily lives.

For more information, see Wikipedia:


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1 Comment

  1. Cambridge Processor Unit was set up by Hermann Hauser and Chris Curry, not Clive Sinclair.
    http://www.computinghistory.org.uk/det/43038/Cambridge-Processor-Unit-Limited-Program-Listing/

    Curry had worked for Sinclair Radionics and Science of Cambridge: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Christopher_Curry

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