IBM Introduces the 801 Minicomputer, the First Computer Employing RISC

John Cocke with the RISC architecture computer that he invented.

John Cocke with the computer incorporating RISC architecture that he invented.

In 1974 IBM built the first prototype computer employing RISC (Reduced Instruction Set Computer) architecture. Based on an invention by IBM researcher John Cocke, the RISC concept simplified the instructions given to run computers, making them faster and more powerful. It was implemented in the experimental IBM 801 minicomputer. The goal of the 801 was to execute one instruction per cycle.

In 1987 John Cocke received the A. M. Turing Award for significant contributions in the design and theory of compilers, the architecture of large systems and the development of reduced instruction set computers (RISC); for discovering and systematizing many fundamental transformations now used in optimizing compilers including reduction of operator strength, elimination of common subexpressions, register allocation, constant propagation, and dead code elimination.

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