Homebrew Computer Architecture

2/6 Department Seminar 

David Troendle
Homebrew Computer Architect
Retired CIO, Lousiana State University Health Science Center--New Orleans (LSUHSC-NO)

3:00 p.m., February 6, 2013
235 Weir Hall

The D-Machine: An Example of a Homebrew Computer Architecture

There is a small but active group of hobbyists who design and realize unique Instruction Set Architectures (ISAs).  While this is a difficult challenge, technology is gradually making this a more feasible hobby.  Such technologies include retargetable C++ compilers (e.g., GNU C), operating systems such as Linux and Minix (which ease the task of provisioning an OS), and Field Programmable Gate Arrays (FPGAs), which enable a hardware realization of the ISA.  Mr. Troendle will describe the ISA he is developing, called the D-Machine, and describe how design decisions were made.

BiO: David Troendle started his career at Lousiana State University Health Sciences Center in New Orleans as a student worker in June, 1968.  After receiving a BS in Mathematics from LSU New Orleans (now the University of New Orleans (UNO)), he began working full-time at LSUHSC-NO as a system programmer and scientific programmer in January 1972.  In January 1984, he was appointed Chief Information Officer (CIO), and remained in that capacity until his retirement in April 2011.  In his capacity as CIO, he managed a staff of approximately 350 and was responsible for administrative IT at the New Orleans and Shreveport academic campuses of LSUHSC, and the 10 Louisiana public hospitals, including New Orleans’ Charity Hospital.  The two academic campuses and 10 hospitals share an implementation of PeopleSoft Finance, HR and Student systems.  The initial implementation and subsequent upgrades were all installed on time and on budget.  David lead the recovery of information systems after Hurricane Katrina.  New space was leased in Baton Rouge and new hardware for an entire computer center was ordered and installed.  Mission critical systems (including the entire PeopleSoft implementation) were back online and available to users in two weeks with no loss of data.  No payroll was missed and all vendors were paid on time.

In August 1976, David received a MS in Mathematics from UNO and began teaching as an adjunct instructor of Computer Science at UNO.  In that capacity he taught courses in Assembly Language, Operating Systems, and Networking, but he mostly taught the Computer Architecture course.  He also taught C and C++ at LSUHSC-NO.  After LSUHSC-NO’s acquisition of Louisiana’s 10 public hospitals in July 1999 it became impossible to continue teaching.  In the late 1970s, David designed the music and color graphics boards for the Heathkit H8 computer.