Artifact Details


IBM RISC technology diagram

Catalog Number



Still Image


10 x 8 in.


Photographic print


This is a black and white image of a RISC (Reduced Instruction Set Computer) architecture schematic. The left side of the schematic shows registers and the middle portion of the schematic shows the instructions inside a figure of a gearwheel. The black text and graphics are on a white background. The press release on verso side states "FOR RELEASE: Immediate FROM: IBM Corporation Research Division P.O. Box 218 Yorktown Heights, NY 10598 RISC TECHNLOGY: This simplified schematic shows the basic economy of operation of IBM-invented Reduced Instruction Set Computer (RISC) architecture. The original RISC prototype computer, called the 801 Minicomputer, was built at IBM's Research Division in 1980 -- the result of a project that began in the 1970's. Simple, short instructions, most of which can be executed in a single processor cycle, are fed into the processor, symbolized by a gearwheel. Each space in the gearwheel represents one machine cycle and the short instructions delivered into the processor fit neatly into each cycle. The processor also efficiently swaps data between registers, left and so reduces the number of accesses to memory. RISC machines tend to be characterized by a large number of general-purpose registers. Because of these attributes, most of the machine's work is carried out in the faster "upper" circuits that make up the processor and registers. The end result is that each cycle is "occupied" with something to do, and there are few things exchanged along the longer, slower path to memory.". Written in blue ink on press release sheet is "Could use this with John Cocke." John Cocke is underlined.


Publicity photograph; Identification photograph


International Business Machines Corporation (IBM); International Business Machines Corporation--History


Courtesy of Gwen Bell

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