LONDON Steve Furber, the ICL Professor of Computer Engineering in the School of Computer Science at the University of Manchester and one of the designers of the BBC Microcomputer and the ARM 32-bit RISC microprocessor has been awarded a CBE.
From 1980 to 1990 Furber worked in the hardware development group within the R&D department at Acorn Computers Ltd. He moved to the University of Manchester in 1990 he established the Amulet research group which has interests in asynchronous logic design and power-efficient computing, and which merged with the parallel architectures and languages group in 2000 to form the Advanced Processor Technologies (APT) group.
In 2002 he served as specialist adviser to the House of Lords Science and Technology Select Committee inquiry into 'Innovations in Microprocessing', which resulted in the report “Chips for Everything: Britain's opportunities in a key global market”.
Furber is an observer on the Silistix board and chairs the technical advisory committee. The company was formed in December 2003 to commercialize self-timed network-on-chip technology developed within the APT group.
Furber's current work includes the SpiNNaker project to build a massively-parallel chip multiprocessor system for modelling large systems of spiking neurons in real time. The ultimate goal is to build a machine that incorporates a million ARM processors linked together by a communications system that can achieve the very high levels of connectivity observed in biological neural systems. Such a machine would be capable of modelling a billion neurons in real time (which is still only around 1 percent of the human brain).
His group is also involved in the COLAMN project, which is a large EPSRC-funded investigation into novel computing architectures based on the laminar microcircuitry of the neocortex.
Furber is a Fellow of the Royal Society, the Royal Academy of Engineering, the British Computer Society, the Institution of Engineering and Technology and the IEEE, and a Chartered Engineer. In 2003 he was awarded a Royal Academy of Engineering Silver Medal for “an outstanding and demonstrated personal contribution to British engineering, which has led to market exploitation”. In 2004 he became the holder of a Royal Society Wolfson Research Merit Award. In 2007 he was awarded the IET Faraday Medal.