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Suggested Citation:"Advances in Computer Processors." National Research Council. 1991. Improving Information for Social Policy Decisions -- The Uses of Microsimulation Modeling: Volume II, Technical Papers. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/1853.
Page 188

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FUTURE COMPUTING ENVIRONMENTS FOR MICROSIMULATION MODELING 188 introductions priced on the technical cost curve compared with introductions initially priced at or below cost to obtain market penetration.28 Advances in Computer Processors The trend in the performance-price ratio of processors is of interest in anticipating the computing power that will be available in 1995 to support the implementation and use of microanalytic simulation models. Processing power is often measured in MIPS, millions of instructions per second.29 With respect to processing units, the following recent information provides some notion of current and near future developments: • An IEEE Micro article30 reported that “the 32-bit i486 (80486) microprocessor provides 20 VAX- equivalent MIPS at clock speeds up to 33 MHz.” The current price for the i486 is $950 in lots of 1,000. • A Computer Systems News article31 reported that “Intel's 80486 matches the performance of Motorola's recently introduced 68040…. The 486 equals the 68040's 1.2 million transistors and offers an equivalent level of integration, comprising a floating-point unit, integer unit, memory management unit and caches. With the debut of the 486, both companies now offer 32-bit complex microprocessors in the 12- to 15-MIPS range along with high-powered RISC-based chips.” • The New York Times32 reported that “Bipolar Integrated Technology has introduced a version of Sun's SPARC microprocessor based on ECL technology that runs at up to 65 MIPS.” • Coprocessor boards announced by Du Pont and Tektronix that are to run with the Macintosh II achieve speeds of 14–17 MIPS.33 28 Overaggressive pricing to obtain market penetration was exemplified by Viatron's 1969 announcement of an inexpensive data entry system. Viatron went into bankruptcy shortly after the product was introduced. 29 The MIPS metric by itself is relative, since different processors have different architectures and the computational work performed by one complex instruction is more on an absolute basis than the work performed by one instruction from a RISC (Reduced Instruction Set Computer) machine. To adjust for this variation, a VAX MIPS measurement is used here, which provides an equivalence of MIPS over machines based on the work performed. Computational processes will execute on different machines in inverse proportion to the ratio of their VAX MIPS rating. 30 “Faster and more RISCy processors,” IEEE Micro, August 1989, Vol. 9, No. 4, p. 86. 31 “Intel and Motorola battle for high-end chip crown,” Computer Systems News, April 17, 1989, No. 413, p. 4. 32 New York Times (Midwest Edition), June 8, 1989, p. 28. The MIPS rating is assumed to be specific to the SPARC chip. 33 Prototypes were shown at the MacWorld Exhibition, August 11–13, 1989. The Tektronix board uses the Fairchild clipper chip. MIPS are specific to the processor.

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Improving Information for Social Policy Decisions -- The Uses of Microsimulation Modeling: Volume II, Technical Papers Get This Book
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This volume, second in the series, provides essential background material for policy analysts, researchers, statisticians, and others interested in the application of microsimulation techniques to develop estimates of the costs and population impacts of proposed changes in government policies ranging from welfare to retirement income to health care to taxes.

The material spans data inputs to models, design and computer implementation of models, validation of model outputs, and model documentation.

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