Drunken Coders

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dovoto On March - 15 - 2013

This may be one of the more ridiculous things I have ever seen…an 8 bit serial computer built ENTIRELY of NAND gates and wire routing…

Crazy attention to detail. If you don’t follow kevtris you should.

What is a NAND computer? Well a quick refresher on digital logic:

There are a few fundamental building blocks to constructing a digital circuit. These are gates, which perform the basic boolean logic operations (OR, AND, NOR, NAND, XOR, NOT) and latches/flipflops which preserve the value of a bit. It turns out that you can build any gate from a NAND gate and so can build flip flops and latches from NAND gates as well. (for more info see: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/NAND_logic )

The picture you see below is a whole bunch of NAND gates in discreet logic chips which are wired together to form an entire CPU. The better you understand it the more you will realize how ridiculous it is that someone thought to do it and furthermore how crazy they must have been to actually finish it.


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2 Responses

  1. Greg Smith says:

    Check out Simon Schoken’s “Self-organizing computer course” where he teaches students how to build a computer from NAND gates and then use that computer to build software from PONG to a webserver.


    From the TED page:

    “As computers have gotten more complex, even tech literate users have become detached from the basics of how they function. This is what Shimon Schocken and Noam Nisan noticed with their computer science students in Israel. As Schocken explains in this talk from TEDGlobal 2012, the pair decided to have their students build a working computer, from the ground up, so that they would “understand how computers work in the marrow of their bones.” They broke down the process into a series of bite-sized, stand-alone units. While students start with building “Nand,” a simple logic gate, and they end by writing games like Pong, Snake and Tetris.”

  2. dovoto says:

    Yes, I came across that while taking a look at Kev’s computer and its pretty impressive. Although I can’t speak to the quality (as I haven’t looked at it in detail), the idea of the course is pretty awesome.

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