Steve Furber

2012 Fellow

For his work, with Sophie Wilson, on the BBC Micro computer and the ARM processor architecture 

"In an age of increasing technical sophistication, simplicity is still the ultimate achievement."

— Steve Furber

Steve Furber was born in Manchester, England, in 1953. He received a BA in mathematics in 1974 and a PhD in aerodynamics in 1980, both from the University of Cambridge.

He is ICL Professor of Computer Engineering in the School of Computer Science at the University of Manchester.

From 1980 to 1990, he worked in the hardware development group at Acorn Computers Ltd and was a principal designer of the BBC Microcomputer (1982) and the ARM 32-bit RISC microprocessor.

Designed with colleague Sophie Wilson as part of a national TV program on personal computing, well over a million BBC Micros were sold and used in more than 80 percent of all U.K. schools.

Furber and Wilson then co-designed the 32-bit RISC Machine processor (1985) to address a need at Acorn for a new microprocessor that outperformed any then commercially available.

The ARM processor core is now used in thousands of different products, from mobile phones and tablets to digital televisions and video games. It has enabled the mobile revolution in computing with its efficient power-sipping microprocessors. The number of ARM processor cores now shipped exceeds 30 billion, or more than four ARM microprocessors for every person on earth.

Furber's current research interests include the SpiNNaker project, which seeks to emulate a small portion of the human brain using one million ARM processor cores.

Furber lives in Wilmslow, England.


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