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On Mar 4, 11:05am, snipped-for-privacy@optonline.net wrote:

Here's a much better source that says you don't know what you're talking about:
http://www.embedded.com/columns/significantbits/13000166?_requestid=508024
For background, embedded processors are the computers that are embedded in something else, as opposed to being a desktop, notebook, server, etc. That something else could be your TV, cell phone, microwave, or in this case car. They have a cpu, memory, input/output and execute a program. Here's what they have to say about how many of these are in cars today and it's even more than I would have guessed. I think many here will be surprised at how high the numbers actually are.
"How many embedded processors does your car have? Go ahead, guess. If you've got a late-model luxury sedan, two or three processors might be obvious in the GPS navigation system or the automatic distance control. Yet you'd still be off by a factor of 25 or 50. The current 7- Series BMW and S-class Mercedes boast about 100 processors apiece. A relatively low-profile Volvo still has 50 to 60 baby processors on board. Even a boring low-cost econobox has a few dozen different microprocessors in it. Your transportation appliance probably has more chips than your Internet appliance."
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On Thu, 4 Mar 2010 14:44:16 -0800 (PST), snipped-for-privacy@optonline.net wrote:

- but although they may use"microprocessors" they are not computers. The microprocessor is used as a switch. Switches are binary digital devices too - canbus switches are solid state and remote control. They do NO data processing so are not REALLY computers.
That said, even if you count them, and use a Bimmer as your example (likely the most over-computerized space-ships in tha galaxy) finding 100 microprocessor controlled devices, muchless microprocessors, would be a big stretch.
And counting the display driver on an LCD display as a "computer" is a real stretch of litterary licence!!!!!
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On Thu, 04 Mar 2010 21:42:55 -0500, snipped-for-privacy@snyder.on.ca wrote:

Tell us, how is a microprocessor (any microprocessor) *not* a computer?

Huh?
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On Mar 4, 11:45pm, " snipped-for-privacy@att.bizzzzzzzzzzzz"

Yeah, I think everyone wants to know the answer to that question. It's amazing how when some people are dead wrong on something, instead of just saying "you're right", they prefer to really make an ass of themselves.

Using even a trivial example, where a microprocessor is used as a switch, then it:
has a CPU has memory executes a program has input and output
That's the basic definition of a computer. How about I write a simple assembly language program that implements a switch function, turning a keyboard light on and off, put it in a flash memory chip, and replace the bios on my PC with it? The light is now flashing. Is my PC no longer a computer just because it's running a very simple program?

Who should we believe, you or a website dedicated to embedded control? Let's say they are off by 2X. That's still a long way from your claim that there are only one or two computers in any car. I'm still waiting for a source on that.

It's no stretch at all if the display is in fact implemented by using a microprocessor or microcontroller. If it's implemented strictly via a digital hardware device, ie, it isn't a cpu running a program, then yes it would be just a display driver. I think the embedded system development folks know the difference. Some key point are that it makes sense to use a computer as opposed to just digital logic because it's cheap, easy to design, re-programmable during developemt, manufacturing or potentially in the field without changing the hardware and once you have it in the display, you can then add all kinds of nifty features because the cpu is already there and can handle more stuff for free. If you read the article I provided, they even point to the first use of a Motorolla 6802 microprocessor in the 1978 cadillac dashboard display to implement the trip computer.
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On Fri, 5 Mar 2010 05:05:11 -0800 (PST), snipped-for-privacy@optonline.net wrote:

I'd draw the line between hardware implementation of a function and a "computer" whether or not it has a _stored_program_. How that stored program is accessible is up for discussion. ;-)

The computer is not the switch, in this usage anyway. It may control a switch, but it is not in itself one.

There is a murky area here, which you even alluded to. Is an FPGA a computer? (no need to answer that ;)
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Actually, a trip computer IS a computer, but unlike the '78 Caddy, the trip computer on MOST cars today is not a separate, discrete unit. The trip computer is a FUNCTION of either the PCU or the BCU (powertrain contol or body control unit) however it is referred to by any particular manufacturer. I was referring to calling a "display driver" a computer, even though it may have a microprocessor and rom in it to generate the characters.
SOME cars DO use a separate "computer" in the dash for the trip computer - and for things like "on-star" etc. But the number of computers has actually DECREASED in recent years as more and more functions are handled by fewer and fewer actual devices.
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On Thu, 04 Mar 2010 22:45:33 -0600, " snipped-for-privacy@att.bizzzzzzzzzzzz"

A "computer" CAN include a microprocessor, but does not need to. Google KURTA for a very good example of a strictly mechanical "computer" The earliest electronic computers also did not use a microprocessor, or even a central processing unit (CPU).
A Microprocessor is a COMPUTER COMPONENT that can be used for many processes, from the very simple to the very complex - only some of which are "computational" or numeric in nature.

From the Columbia Encyclopedia "computer: device capable of performing a series of arithmetic or logical operations. A computer is distinguished from a calculating machine, such as an electronic calculator, by being able to store a computer program (so that it can repeat its operations and make logical decisions), by the number and complexity of the operations it can perform, and by its ability to process, store, and retrieve data without human intervention. Computers developed along two separate engineering paths, producing two distinct types of computer-analog and digital. An analog computer operates on continuously varying data; a digital computer performs operations on discrete data."
If a microprocessor performs only a single operation (such as display data on a LCD screen, or decode a signal sent across a power wire to turn on a light remotely) it is not a computer.
If it reads several inputs and "computes" a result, and then creates an output that does something, it is a computer, like a cruise control computer, a transmission control computer, an ABS computer, etc. A computer can multi-task, running numerous processes at the same time, operating, for instance, engine fuel injection, ignition timing and emission control, as well as controlling the transmission and brake antilock systems - and by linking the three together also provide traction control and active stability control - all on one "computer"
Didn't know that. eh??

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On Fri, 05 Mar 2010 22:11:04 -0500, snipped-for-privacy@snyder.on.ca wrote:

That is *NOT* what I asked. Try reading for comprehension.

Are you really this stupid, or are you just pulling my leg?

I guess you really are stupid.

That's nice, but totally irrelevant.

Wrong.

A cruise control performs a single operation; accelerate/not so much.

I know you're an idiot, pretending to know something.

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On Mar 5, 10:11 pm, snipped-for-privacy@snyder.on.ca wrote:

Neither krw nor I ever said that a computer needs to include a microprocessor. The reverse is what krw claimed, which is to say that a system that includes a microprocessor is a computer. Unless perhaps the microprocessor is being used as a doorstop. For the microprocessor to be of any use, it needs to be executing a program and capable of some kind of input/output. At that point it is a computer. It could be a very simple program only taking in some serial data, figuring out what the data is telling it to do, then activating the appropriate output. But that is just a simpler version of what your PC is doing.

I'd also point out that today, virtually all current computers do contain a microprocessor or microcontroller. Certainly evey one in today's cars do. So, why the trip down memory lane? For the record, I did google KURTA and KURTA mechanical computer and came up with zippo.

As I said above, if a system has a microprocessor it's a computer. It could be a simple one, that takes a few inputs and works a few switches, but it is a computer. That microprocessor is executing a program. Other than that the program is very simple, how is that any different than a microprocessor operating in a PC? And you never answered this question:
How about I write a simple assembly language program that implements a switch function, turning a keyboard light on and off, put it in a flash memory chip, and replace the bios on my PC with it? The light is now flashing. Is my PC no longer a computer just because it's running a very simple program?
Here's Collins dictionary definition of the word computer:
computer [kəmˈpjuːtə] n 1. (Electronics & Computer Science / Computer Science) a. a device, usually electronic, that processes data according to a set of instructions. The digital computer stores data in discrete units and performs arithmetical and logical operations at very high speed. The analog computer has no memory and is slower than the digital computer but has a continuous rather than a discrete input. The hybrid computer combines some of the advantages of digital and analog computers. b. (as modifier) computer technology Related prefix cyber- 2. a person who computes or calculates Collins English Dictionary
And from Merriam-Webster:
Main Entry: com·put·er Pronunciation: \kəm-ˈpyü-tər\ Function: noun Usage: often attributive Date: 1646 : one that computes; specifically : a programmable usually electronic device that can store, retrieve, and process
Tell us what part of those definitions an 8051 running the dashboard display in a car would not meet.

Let's look at the first sentence: "device capable of performing a series of arithmetic or logical operations." An 8051 microcontroller running the dashboard display meets that definition.
Now let's look at the next part:

Now we're really out of the definition part, but they are making a specific comparison of what would distinguish an electronic calculator from a computer. But let's take this list of requirements anyway:
able to store a computer program number and complexity of operations it can perform ability to process, store and retrieve data without human intervention
An 8051 microcontroller running a dashboard display meets all those requirement.

It's still a computer because it has a CPU, memory, I/O and is executing a program.

So we also have the dashboard display microprocessor, which is receiving digital data serially from the ECU as to the cars speed, from the tranny computer as to the shift lever position, from the climate control computer as to the inside and outside temps, from the GPS as to the compass heading. Then using that data it computes how to activate the various display segments, responds to pushbuttons on the dash to work the trip computer, etc. Tell us how that is not a computer. Of course it is and it's called the dashboard display computer which should be on your list. It's also funny that in the above statement, we suddenly have 3 new computers in a car, not including the ECU and body computer. Gee, you started off telling us that most cars have only two and some only one.

I've forgotten more than you can ever hope to know. If you want to compare credentials, I would be happy to do so, but I don't think you want to go there. And what does the above have to do with anything? Are you now claiming that to meet the definition of a computer it must be capable of multitasking? Even if you want to make that claim, a simple 8051 microcontroller is quite capable of multitasking. As an example, in a display controller an 8051 could be receiving data on the vehicle speed on it's serial port, working the display segments and updating the distance traveled. Just like the ECU "computer"
You also completely ignored the highly credible link I gave you that says
http://www.embedded.com/columns/significantbits/13000166?_requestid=508024
This is a website for engineers that do embedded computer design. And they clearly say that even an econobox car today has a few dozen embedded processors. Or how about all the other media reports that you frequently see that talk about how many computers are in a typical home today? They are in everything from your cable box, to your microwave oven, your alarm system, your digital thermostat, your dishwasher, etc. Do you agree they are computers? And if yes, then what makes them different than using a microprocessor in a dashboard display?
I can give you my answer. They are all computers because they have a CPU, execute a program, and I/O.
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On Sat, 6 Mar 2010 06:39:37 -0800 (PST), snipped-for-privacy@optonline.net wrote:

Never said that, did I???

I said a trip computer was a computer, didn't I????
I also said many vehicles incorporate it in the PCM or body computer, which controls many other functions of the car as well. Not arguing with you there. However, a PIC or other device used STRICTLY to drive a display, decoding a string of data from another computer to light the dots on an LCD is NOT a computer, even if it contains a microprocessor and a memory table that defines the characters to be displayed.. You may want to consider it a computer. I call it an intelligent display. The article about embedded controllers counts that as a computer.
It's all semantics.

Some are, some are not - and the definition is pretty loose. They are devices containing a microprocessor. They are dedicated digital control systems. They are systems that contain and utilize computer components. Are they computers? They are if you say they are. It's all semantics

Is a PLC a computer? A "computer" can replace a PLC - It can emulate a PLC. It can run as a virtual PLC. It can BE a PLC.
A PLC is a more or less dedicated device - it is programiable, it is a logical device. It makes decisions based on binary logic inputs and a "program"and it can be programmed to CONTROL many devices from those inputs It can be FIELD PROGRAMMED, so I'd call it a computer.
If you state that the average luxury car today can contain upwards of 100 microprocessors, I'll agree with you. It's all semantics.
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On Sat, 6 Mar 2010 06:39:37 -0800 (PST), snipped-for-privacy@optonline.net wrote:

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snipped-for-privacy@optonline.net wrote, in something about microprocessor products being computers:
<SNIP to here>

<SNIP a previously quoted bit on microprocessors doing stuff so simple as "in my words" "arguably" "not actually doing real computer work">

<Shorten many lines to a few, such as discernment of a computer from a calculating machine, and saying that if it has "as-best-as-I-recall" I/O, RAM and a program and a processor, it is a computer.>
What if the microprocessor is controlling a mere battery charger? With the only program available to it being the one in its associated ROM that was put there by the factory?
Yes, I would concede that it meets a definition of "digital stored program computer" which is the "usual type of computer". But to what extent should a battery charger with program being burned into the same IC package as the processor be considered a "computer" as opposed to being a fancy sort of battery charger IC?
How about if the microprocessor has included within its IC package ROM (especially one-time-programmable "true ROM") a program that makes it useful or at least advantageous only as part of a ballast circuit for a single type or a small number of closely related types of metal halide lamp or other arc lamp? To what extent would one want to claim that a metal halide lamp ballast or a fluorescent lamp ballast is a computer due to having a stored program and a microprocessor of digital nature and I/O?
Suppose I invent a microprocessor-based ballast for a specific type of HID lamp that is an invention by achieving faster warmup without "excessive" starting/warmup related wear than anything previously disclosed. Such invention may have the program implementing means to-be-disclosed-in-patent-application-should-I-try-to-patent-one to maximize or even improve-upon-previous-achievements some novel way of faster warmup, or at least faster warmup of an HID lamp type that previously patented/patent-applied-for are no good for. The patentable improvement could have the burned-into-ROM program being a patentably novel improved one, at least for a specific lamp type. The program may be patentably novel by using sensed data and/or a "lamp thermal model" in a "novel" way, disclosed in the patent application. This could even be by disclosing in a patent application how a modification of a "prior art" lamp ballast is an invention by disclosing how it is inventive by being made suitable for a different lamp in an inventive way.
But I have digressed... Getting back on track, to what extent would / should one consider a lamp ballast or a battery charger, especially if more-specialized, to be considered to be a computer if it has a stored program, RAM, a microprocessor and I/O?
If a digital microprocessor controlling throttle in an automobile has inputs both from any user controls and from any sensors other than user controls, especially if it controls in addition amount of fuel injection and/or ignition timing, then I would consider that microprocessor, its program storage means, its likely-existing "memory" elsewhere (likely RAM), and its inputs and outputs (short of the sensors delivering the inputs and the devices responding to the outputs) to be a "computer".
Any comments from here?
- Don Klipstein ( snipped-for-privacy@misty.com)
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On Mar 7, 1:28am, snipped-for-privacy@manx.misty.com (Don Klipstein) wrote:

It is in fact a computer, an embedded computer. The fact that it's program is contained in ROM is irrelevant. In fact, the vast majority of embedded computers like those in cars, cable boxes, or your microwave oven have their programs stored in some type of non volatile solid state memory, ie ROM, Flash, etc. Did you look at the website link I provided to the embedded computing site that is a technical website dedicated to this type of computers?

It doesn't matter a bit where the program is stored. All you're doing there is moving more stuff on chip because it's cost efficient, less components, less power, etc, to do so. Microcontrollers are microprocessors that typically have:
CPU ROM RAM Parallel I/O ports On board peripherals, eg timers, interrupt controller, A/D, D/A, UARTS, etc
That doesn't mean they are no longer computers, just that more functions that used to be done with seperate chips has been brought on board. If anything, it makes them more capable, not less so.

The ballast is NOT a computer. It does contain an embedded computer though because it has a microprocessor running a program. Suppose I take my PC and instead of booting an OS, I replace the BIOS with a ROM containing a similar simple program to your ballast example. Is that PC no longer a computer? No, it's no longer a functioning PC, but it's still a computer.


Again, it's not the device itself that's a computer. It contains an embedded one if it has the things on your list.

That computer is just another version of what is going on in the battery charger or ballast. Yes, it has more inputs, more outputs and it's program is more complex. Consider though what even a simple microcontroller that is in a car controlling let's say the mirror position has to do. It starts up and starts executing code. First thing it has to do is program it's onboard peripherals. So, it starts loading values into registers for the timers, the interrupt controller. It loads values to set the speed of things like the serial port. At some point, it may suspend operating and wait to be re-awakend by an interrrupt which is caused by the serial port beginning to receive an incoming command for it to move the mirror. Now it goes into a loop to read in the packet of info. It has to check the parity on the packet or other means of determining that it is valid and not corrupt. Then it must break apart the packet and figure out what to do, eg move RH mirror to position 7. I could go on, but the point is that none of that is trivial. It involves taking in data, analyzing it, acting on it. The fact that it can all be going on in a single microcontroller that cost $1 is a remarkable statement of how far technology has advanced. But it in no way diminishes the fact that it is a computer.
Also consider the total confusion that would result from your approach or that of CL. You're essentially saying that at some arbitrary point, you consider an embedded microprocessor to be a computer, but it depends on factors that no one here has clearly defined. I'm saying that I've been in the industry and there is no confusion. Any embedded application that has a CPU, executes a program, has I/O is a computer. In a car, each of these modules would likely have one: engine control unit, ABS control unit, airbag control unit, etc.
Now CL has made some remarkable claims here. Among them that the typical car has but only two computers and many cars now have only one. He's claiming that everything is being centralized. That is completely contrary to everything that I have read and know to be true. I'm still waiting for a single reference for this.
He also claimed that he knows for a fact that:
"Well, I happen to know that the engine and transmission controls are "one computer" . The climate control, air bags, radio, compass, etc are another "computer".
I don't know how any manufacturer divides up the workload among computers. But I would lay money on the above being false. I told CL that I can think of some very good reasons why you would not want the airbag function to be mixed with anything else, let alone the radio. I never heard back from him. I think you likely know what I'm getting at. I also know if you google airbag computer, you sure get lots of hits and it sounds like there are a lot of them that are seperate modules.
You don't have to believe me. I've given you a link to a very credible source on embedded computing that says that a modern BMW or MB could have 100 embedded computers and even a cheap car has a few dozen.
Here's another good source. It's a book titled "Designing Embedded Hardware" by John Catsoulis, who holds a Masters in Computer Engineering.
http://books.google.com/books?id=vcRlNVF79WwC&dq=embedded+computer&printsec=frontcover&source=in&hl=en&ei=rqWSS8eaHJKXtgfMyITVCg&sa=X&oi=book_result&ct=result&resnum=15&ved=0CFIQ6AEwDg#v=onepage&q=embedded%20computer&f=false
"Computer systems fall into two seperate categories. The first, and most obvious, is that of the desktop computer....The second type of computer is the embedded computer, a computer that is integrated into another system for the purposes of control and/or monitoring. In fact, (the average home) may have 30 or more, hidden inside TV's, VCRs, DVD players, remote controls, washing machines, air conditioners......"
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On Mar 6, 10:28pm, snipped-for-privacy@manx.misty.com (Don Klipstein) wrote:

Sora OT. When I first signed in I saw someone had said they googled the Curta Rallye calculator with no hits. I tried one quick search and came up with a page of them. Here is one:
www.rallyracingnews.com/manuals/curtaman.html
Harry K
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For the record Harry, what I said was I googled "KURTA" which is exactly what krw had posted. Sometimes what you think you saw and what was really there are two different things. Which is why I'm reluctant to treat self-reported interpretations of things as establishing fact.
And also for the record, your link doesn't work:
"The page - www.google.com/www.rallyracingnews.com/manuals/curtaman.html - does not exist. "
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I think the lot of you should be charged a nickle a line for all the useless quoted text you've left in this 300+ message thread.
snipped-for-privacy@optonline.net wrote:
-snip-

Whose law is it that says when you go to make a point on Usenet- you'll get bitten in the ass by a similar problem?
Harry's link *does* work for me. Yours doesn't-- but I don't know where the www.google.com came from--- [did you search the site instead of the web?]
Jim
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Jim Elbrecht wrote:

LOL, I just had a discussion with my family all emailing each other. A one sentence reply but they quoted 10 pages of meaningless drivel.
I hope this clean and lean format doesn't confuse people.
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On Sun, 7 Mar 2010 08:15:45 -0800 (PST), snipped-for-privacy@optonline.net wrote:

Certainly wasn't me. I think it was "Clare", in defense of his silly idea that microprocessors aren't computers. I've never heard of the thing.

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On Sun, 07 Mar 2010 11:42:02 -0600, " snipped-for-privacy@att.bizzzzzzzzzzzz"

I posted the correction- it is CURTA. If you've never heard of one-You haven't rallyed Particularly back in the seventies.

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On Sun, 07 Mar 2010 18:23:59 -0500, snipped-for-privacy@snyder.on.ca wrote:

I didn't say otherwise.

Nope. I never got into the sport but even calculators were forbidden in the rallies my friends participated in.
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