Bob Adamson's Home Page

Permanently under constructionHi and welcome, on this fine , to my home page. These pages are permanently under construction in spare moments so if you find a broken link or a goof just ignore it - I'll get round to it eventually, maybe. I'm now retired from my last position with the Institute for System Level Integration as a staff member involved in a range of electronic design work. My background is in integrated circuit design covering a longish period since the late 1960s when MOS IC design, at least in the UK, was in its infancy and I have designed many ICs and managed IC design departments in several companies before working here.

My main indoor hobby is (personal) computing which has been an interest since I first made the acquaintance of an Elliott 803 in the late 1960s. This was a discrete-transistor / ferrite core machine using serial logic with a cycle time of about half a millisecond and weighing about half a ton although to its credit it did have a hardware floating-point unit! Whilst a primitive Algol (note - about 3.3Mb!) compiler was available for those with a memory extension, optimally programs were hand-coded to fit in our available 4k of memory (this is about one millionth of what is commonly found in today's PCs) and I became quite expert at reading and splicing paper-tape which was its standard I/O. At university and work I spent my working and many spare hours coding amongst numerous others an ICL 4130 (from the pre-merger Elliott 4100 series), Ferranti Atlas, various DEC PDP-8s (for years my favourite - I can still remember the RIM loader sequence and the various op-codes!) and PDP-11s, Data General Nova, DECsystem-10, CDC Star and of course various VAXs - Vaxen seems to have become the popular (though rather unpleasant) plural amongst enthusiasts. Eventually around 1980 I built my first home computer - a Compukit UK-101 single-board kit which had only 4k of RAM, later expanded to 8k and a BASIC interpreter, and was described in a series of magazine articles by Dr A.A.Berk in Practical Electronics from August 1979. This was quickly followed by a self-designed PDP-8 lookalike using the Intersil chip range and able to run DEC's amazing FOCAL interpreter, and then in 1983 by Acorn's BBC 'B' (see here for an advertisement from 1982 or here for a press review), made affordable by Marconi's staff purchase scheme. Since then I have owned a succession of home-brewed PCs of various sorts up to my present home network of PCs, Sparcs and 'nix boxes. I've also more recently acquired a few 40-odd-year-old DEC PDP-8 machines which I'm in the process of restoring.

Other interests include amateur (ham) radio - I hold a full licence, callsign MM0TIE - and gardening, where I enjoy growing large chrysanthemums; and through the better months I can usually be found pottering somewhere in the garden with my wife, Isabel.

I now live in Rosyth, Fife with my wife Isabel; more or less a full circle as I was born not so far from there in Leslie, although in the intervening period I've lived and worked in various parts of the UK and abroad. I first attended school in Leslie, then on to secondary school at Buckhaven High School before starting work in Glenrothes with Elliott Automation as a founder-member (though only as a technician) of the first purpose-built MOS fabrication facility in the UK. After this was closed as part of Lord Weinstock's contribution to the advancement of UK technology I moved to work for Hughes Aircraft Company (now Raytheon) in Glenrothes, then part of the Howard Hughes' empire, which sponsored me (thank you Doris Brodie and George Coull!) to Napier College (now a university in its own right) and Heriot-Watt University. (See my c.v. here).


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Page last updated by on 28/08/2012