Date of Award

Spring 1983

Degree Type

Master's Essay - Restricted

Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)


Electrical and Computer Engineering

First Advisor

Heinen, James A.


Stack machines have been around since the early sixties. Their architectural advantages were disputed by many experts for a long time. Burroughs Corporation exploited the advantages of the stack architecture to the fullest in their computers and this architecture has been called ''Burroughs architecture" in the literature. Mainframe computers dominated the sixties and representative of the stack architecture machines in that era was the Burroughs line of machines. These were designed with ALGOI-60 in mind. Minicomputers made their presence felt in the seventies and companies like Digital Equipment Corporation and Hewlett-Packard Company held sway. Minicomputers, too, had a successful machine with the stack as a salient future: the HP 3000. In the seventies, microprocessors were introduced and with rapid advances in the VISI technology, microprocessors are sure to dominate the computer scene in the eighties. The "micros" of the seventies were limited in capabilities and were designed mainly with the assembly language programmer in mind. The comfort of an assembly language programmer was the main consideration. However, compiler writing for these microprocessors was quite cumbersome. Today, in the eighties, "micros" are not only popular but also very powerful. With the soaring price of software development, a microprocessor with "high level language orientation" is expected. One such processor is Intel Corporation's iapx 432. With object oriented architecture, this processor is very advanced and powerful. It has inherited many salient features of the stack machines of the sixties and the seventies and is "high level language oriented". However, users find the machine too complex. The discussion, here , presents case studies of two of the most popular machines of the stack family: B6700, a mainframe and HP 3000, a minicomputer. Also, a hypothetical stack machine that was simulated on VAX-11/780 using Pascal, is discussed. This machine has instructions that are generally found in the low-end microcomputer. range.