Woman co-developer of ARM microprocessor elected Fellow of Royal Academy

Sophie Wilson, who co-developed the first ARM microprocessor with Professor Steve Furber of Manchester University, has been elected a Fellow of the Royal Academy of Engineering, in a record year for women at the Academy.

It's a record year for women at the Royal Academy of Engineering, with four elected Fellows of the Academy, writes David Manners of Electronics Weekly.

Sophie Wilson, who co-developed the first ARM microprocessor with Professor Steve Furber of Manchester University, has been elected a Fellow of the Royal Academy of Engineering.

Three women from other engineering disciplines were also elected this year, making 2009 a record year for women at the Academy, which promotes the engineering and technological welfare of the UK.

When Wilson and Furber were asked to build a new microprocessor from scratch for the Acorn Computer, Acorn CEO, Hermann Hauser said: "I gave them two things which National, Intel and Motorola had never given their design teams: the first was no money; the second was no people. The only way they could do it was to keep it really simple."

Furber designed the architecture, and Wilson developed the instruction set. "While IBM spent months simulating their instruction sets on large mainframes, Sophie did it all in her head," said Hauser.

Now ARM is the best selling 32-bit microprocessor in the world.

This story was first reported by our sister title Electronics Weekly: Record year for women elected to Royal Academy of Engineering.

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