Twenty, Thirty, and Sixty Years Ago
By Jakob Engblom
In 2011, we mark several anniversaries here at Wind River and in the world of virtual platforms. First of all, it is 30 years since Wind River was founded, in 1981. Ten years later, in 1991, the first code of what would become Simics was written by Peter S Magnusson at the Swedish Institute of Computer Science. Thus, Simics turns 20! 2011 also marks the 60th anniversary of the instruction-set simulator and virtual platform-based debug.
In 1951, Stanley Gill from the Mathematical Laboratory at the University of Cambridge published a paper called "The Diagnosis of Programmes on the EDSAC" in the Proceedings of the Royal Society of London. In it, he describes how he created a single-stepping debugger for the EDSAC computer. As an aside, the EDSAC was the first programmable general-purpose computer in the world, and the team around it built early versions of many of today's standard software tools such as the first bootloader and the first symbolic assembler, which was very visionary and an amazing feat of programming.