Memory + Accumulator = New Plan

We finally completed work on the 16-bits of Data Memory, and attached it to the Accumulator. The final result is a rather attractive looking tower of K'NEX. The dimensions of it are almost exactly 1' x 4' x 9' (an interesting coincidence for anyone who has read "2001: A Space Odyssey").

The project has reached an impressive milestone, and we have been showing this beast off around campus, with mostly befuddled, but positive reviews.

As a team, Matt and I have decided that the current structure has a couple of undesirable qualities, some of which we hope to remedy. The most frustrating problem we have been running into is that the computer is incredibly large, complex, and confusing, even to someone well-versed in computer architecture. In order to fix this, we are considering a change in goals for the project.

We hope that by making the machine simpler to use and operate, it will become more accessible, understandable, and more enjoyable for people to watch and interact with. Our plan is to do something that will allow a person to set the computer's operation using a non-binary interface. The input for the machine may then be a column of 16 switches to represent each operand (number to be added or subtracted) and a single switch for the operator (add or subtract). Similarly, the output would be one of 16 numbered flags representing the final number.

This is a plan in preliminary stages, and may undergo drastic changes, but what we are relatively certain of is that completing the computer as originally planned will not happen. We felt the rewards of completing the project were not likely to be woth the work required.