Victor Dale Poor
July 12, 1933
Los Angeles, California, U.S.
|Died||August 17, 2012 79) (aged|
Palm Bay, Florida, U.S.
|Employer|| United States Navy |
|Known for||Co-development of the microprocessor, ARCNET, APlink, Winlink|
|Home town||Brevard County, Florida|
|Spouse(s)||Florence Ann Poor|
|Awards||ARRL President's Award|
Victor "Vic" Poor (July 12, 1933 – August 17, 2012) was an American engineer and computer pioneer. At Computer Terminal Corporation (later renamed Datapoint Corporation), he co-created the architecture that was ultimately implemented in the first successful computer microprocessor, the Intel 8008. Subsequently, Computer Terminal Corporation created the first personal computer, the Datapoint 2200 programmable terminal.
Victor Dale Poor was born in Los Angeles, California, the son of Pinckney Peyton Poor and Leona Lucille Poor (née Mallory). With a passion for radio, he built his own transceiver from collected discarded pieces, and qualified on amateur radio in 1951 (callsign W6JSO).
After high school, Poor joined the United States Navy. While attending electronics training at the Treasure Island Naval Base in 1952, he met his wife, Florence, in a church in San Francisco.On completing his training the couple married in November 1952, and he was then assigned to Ford Island naval base, Pearl Harbor, Hawaii.
On leaving the Navy in 1955, Poor joined the telecommunications technology team at Stromberg-Carlson in San Diego, California. Trained in computer programming, he wrote his first programme in 1956 for the UNIVAC 1103.Recruited by Raytheon, the couple then moved to Massachusetts. Although Poor did not attend college, he took electronics training classes both in the Navy and at Raytheon. A quick learner, he soon knew more than his instructors and began teaching classes himself.
Poor then moved to Maryland to help form radio and telegraph equipment manufacturer Frederick Electronics.Quickly made an executive, he developed the idea of adapting radioteletype (RTTY) machines to send data wirelessly. These were then sold to both the United States Army and later commercial media customers, such as the Associated Press, to send affiliated news reports as data around the world.
Poor continued his research and development, trying to develop a method for sending photographs and pictures wirelessly. In 1969 while working his notice period from Frederick Electronics,during the Thanksgiving holiday, Poor and fellow amateur radio colleague Harry Pyle produced the underlying architecture of the modern microprocessor on a living room floor. They then asked fellow radio amateur Jonathan Schmidt to write the accompanying communications software. Pitching the idea to both Texas Instruments and Intel, the partnership developed the Intel 8008, the forerunner of the microprocessor chips found in today's personal and computing devices.
In late 1969, Poor joined start-up computer company Computer Terminal Corporation as Technical Director in San Antonio, Texas. Founded by two former NASA engineers, Phil Ray and Gus Roche, they asked him to approach Intel to see how much of his design could fit onto a computer chip. Pitching a $100,000 proposal to place the architecture onto silicon and into production, the project became the Intel 8008 master chip, the world's first 8-bit microprocessor.Poor and Pyle then developed the instruction set architecture which enabled Ray and Roche to design and develop the mass-produced programmable Datapoint 2200 computer terminal. As a result of the success of this product, the company changed its name to Datapoint. Datapoint remained one generation ahead of Intel until the Intel 80286.
Overseeing the development of ARCNET by lead ARCNET architect John Murphy, 50 foot (15 m) Gulfstar yacht Elsinore, named after the location of the castle in Shakespeare’s "Hamlet".an early local area network, Poor stayed with Datapoint until 1984, after they had lost their technical microchip lead to IBM and been bought out by corporate raiders. He "retired" with his wife on the profits that he had made from the 15 year growth in Datapoint stock, deciding to go sailing. After sailing across the Atlantic Ocean, they spent the first summer in the Mediterranean on the
The challenges of communicating by radio while at sea (callsign W5SMM)led Poor to develop software that integrates Internet with amateur radio to store and forward messages; this system is today part of a major amateur-supported emergency communications network. While sailing, Poor wanted a better way to communicate with those around him. This led to him developing, in 1985, the original computer program, APlink (AMTOR-Packet Link). Then as part of a group of radio amateurs, acting as the architect Poor helped to developed what became Winlink. Both of these systems would automatically store and forward messages between amateur radio stations. With no one in the group able to take royalties due to the amateur radio regulations, the American Radio Relay League (ARRL) later adopted APlink for their National Traffic System (NTS) digital messages. The system was widely adopted by radio amateurs, the United States military, and state and local emergency preparedness teams. It was credited with being one of the few communications systems that worked in the wake of Hurricane Katrina.
In 1994, Poor was recruited as the President of Airnet, a spinoff from Harris Corporation, based in Melbourne, Florida. Proposing to his wife that they would soon be home in San Antonio, at the end of his 2.5 year tenure they retired to Brevard County, Florida instead.
On December 8, 2004, Gardner Hendrie and Len Shustek of the Computer History Museum in Mountain View, California, recorded "The Oral History of Victor Poor."
Poor's lifelong hobbies were operating amateur radio, flying airplanes, and sailing boats. Poor and his wife Florence loved to sail. Their earliest cruises were out of Corpus Christi, Texas, and included adventures to the Yucatán peninsula. In 1984, the couple sailed their 50-ft sloop Elsinore across the Atlantic Ocean and toured the western Mediterranean Sea; between 1988 and 1990, they lived aboard a 37-ft catamaran Aransas Light and explored the coastlines of the Gulf of Mexico, the Bahamas, and the eastern seaboard as far north as Chesapeake Bay; between 1990 and 1994 they moved to a Diesel-powered 50-ft trawler Excalibur to sightsee along the Inland Waterway between Seattle, Washington, and Skagway, Alaska.
In May 2012, Poor was diagnosed with Stage IV pancreatic cancer.On July 9, Poor was awarded the ARRL President's Award at the Platinum Coast Amateur Radio Society annual meeting, for a lifetime of achievements. There have been only a handful of recipients of this prestigious award.
Poor died early on the morning of August 17, 2012, at William Childs Hospice House in Palm Bay, Florida.
The Intel 8080 ("eighty-eighty") is the second 8-bit microprocessor designed and manufactured by Intel. It first appeared in April 1974 and is an extended and enhanced variant of the earlier 8008 design, although without binary compatibility. The initial specified clock rate or frequency limit was 2 MHz, and with common instructions using 4, 5, 7, 10, or 11 cycles this meant that it operated at a typical speed of a few hundred thousand instructions per second. A faster variant 8080A-1 became available later with clock frequency limit up to 3.125 MHz.
A microprocessor is a computer processor that incorporates the functions of a central processing unit on a single integrated circuit (IC), or sometimes up to 8 integrated circuits. The microprocessor is a multipurpose, clock driven, register based, digital integrated circuit that accepts binary data as input, processes it according to instructions stored in its memory and provides results as output. Microprocessors contain both combinational logic and sequential digital logic. Microprocessors operate on numbers and symbols represented in the binary number system.
The 6800 is an 8-bit microprocessor designed and first manufactured by Motorola in 1974. The MC6800 microprocessor was part of the M6800 Microcomputer System that also included serial and parallel interface ICs, RAM, ROM and other support chips. A significant design feature was that the M6800 family of ICs required only a single five-volt power supply at a time when most other microprocessors required three voltages. The M6800 Microcomputer System was announced in March 1974 and was in full production by the end of that year.
The Z80 is an 8-bit microprocessor introduced by Zilog as the startup company's first product. The Z80 was conceived by Federico Faggin in late 1974 and developed by him and his 11 employees starting in early 1975. The first working samples were delivered in March 1976, and it was officially introduced on the market in July 1976. With the revenue from the Z80, the company built its own chip factories and grew to over a thousand employees over the following two years.
In computer architecture, 8-bit integers, memory addresses, or other data units are those that are 8 bits wide. Also, 8-bit CPU and ALU architectures are those that are based on registers, address buses, or data buses of that size. 8-bit is also a generation of microcomputers in which 8-bit microprocessors were the norm.
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The Intel 8008 is an early byte-oriented microprocessor designed and manufactured by Intel and introduced in April 1972. It is an 8-bit CPU with an external 14-bit address bus that could address 16 KB of memory. Originally known as the 1201, the chip was commissioned by Computer Terminal Corporation (CTC) to implement an instruction set of their design for their Datapoint 2200 programmable terminal. As the chip was delayed and did not meet CTC's performance goals, the 2200 ended up using CTC's own TTL-based CPU instead. An agreement permitted Intel to market the chip to other customers after Seiko expressed an interest in using it for a calculator.
Attached Resource Computer NETwork is a communications protocol for local area networks. ARCNET was the first widely available networking system for microcomputers; it became popular in the 1980s for office automation tasks. It was later applied to embedded systems where certain features of the protocol are especially useful.
The Intel 4004 is a 4-bit central processing unit (CPU) released by Intel Corporation in 1971. It was the first commercially available microprocessor, and the first in a long line of Intel CPUs. The chip design, implemented with the MOS silicon gate technology, started in April 1970, and was created by Federico Faggin who led the project from beginning to completion in 1971. Marcian Hoff formulated and led the architectural proposal in 1969, and Masatoshi Shima contributed to the architecture and later to the logic design. The first commercial sale of the fully operational 4004 occurred in March 1971 to Busicom Corp. of Japan for its 141-PF electronic calculator, for which it was originally designed and built as a custom chip.
The Altair 8800 is a microcomputer designed in 1974 by MITS and based on the Intel 8080 CPU. Interest grew quickly after it was featured on the cover of the January 1975 issues and was sold by mail order through advertisements there In Radio-Electronics, and in other hobbyist magazines. The Altair is widely recognized as the spark that ignited the microcomputer revolution as the first commercially successful personal computer. The computer bus designed for the Altair was to become a de facto standard in the form of the S-100 bus, and the first programming language for the machine was Microsoft's founding product, Altair BASIC.
The Datapoint 2200 was a mass-produced desktop personal computer, designed by Computer Terminal Corporation (CTC) founders Phil Ray and Gus Roche and announced by CTC in June 1970. It was initially presented by CTC simply as a versatile and cost-efficient terminal for connecting to a wide variety of mainframes by loading various terminal emulations from tape rather than being hardwired as most contemporary terminals, including their earlier Datapoint 3300. However, Dave Gust, a CTC salesman, realized that the 2200 could meet Pillsbury Foods's need for a small computer in the field, after which the 2200 was marketed as a stand-alone computer. Its industrial designer John "Jack" Frassanito has later claimed that Ray and Roche always intended the Datapoint 2200 to be a full-blown personal computer, but that they chose to keep quiet about this so as not to concern investors and others. Also significant is the fact that the terminal's multi-chip CPU (processor)'s instruction set became the basis of the Intel 8008 instruction set, which inspired the Intel 8080 instruction set and the x86 instruction set used in the processors for the original IBM PC and its descendants.
Datapoint Corporation, originally known as Computer Terminal Corporation (CTC), was a computer company based in San Antonio, Texas, United States. Founded in July 1968 by Phil Ray and Gus Roche, its first products were, as the company's initial name suggests, computer terminals intended to replace Teletype machines connected to time sharing systems.
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The DataPoint 3300 was the first computer terminal manufactured by the Computer Terminal Corporation, announced in 1967 and shipping in 1969. Since this terminal was intended to replace a teleprinter such as those made by Teletype Corporation it was one of the first glass TTYs ever produced.
John A. Murphy is an American inventor and computer engineer credited with inventing ARCNET, the first commercial networking system, in 1976. He was working for Datapoint Corporation at the time. His biography appeared in the IT History Society website.