The BBC micro:bit is better than an iPhone. Really
APPLE’S ALL conquering iPhone 6S has been beaten into second last place in a race between a range of key computers from the last 75 years.
The ‘Grand Digital’ competition was to see which machine could churn out the most numbers from the Fibonacci sequence in 15 seconds.
The runners and riders were:
1: BBC Micro:bit (2015) – 8843
2: Windows 98 PC (1998) – 1477
3: BBC Micro (1981) – 70
4: Apple II (1977) – 35
5: PDP-8 (1965) – 16
6: Facit Calculator (mechanical – pre-1971) – 7
7: Apple iPhone 6S (2015) – 4
8: WITCH (1951) – 3
For those who weren’t paying attention at school, the Fibonacci Sequence is made by adding together the two previous numbers in the sequence:
(Incidentally, we didn’t look that up, we just worked it out manually and got to nine in 15 seconds without really trying).
Of course, there’s a slight lack of actual science here. For example, the iPhone has about 100 different things to be concentrating on in the background, likewise the Windows 98 machine which may have a different spec.
Plus, different chipsets are designed to do different things and it could just be that the BBC micro:bit is more adept at counting, just as the human brains skills vary from person to person.
The other devices have less of an excuse, of course. Even the BBC micro:bit, though capable of doing (a little) more than a mechanical calculator, actually does relatively little if that it’s not specifically programmed to.
And therein lies the rub – the competition wasn’t just about the machines either – it was the programmers. In this case, nine-year-old Connie from Milton Keynes wrote the code for the micro:bit. The iPhone 6S used Siri.
Kevin Murrell, a trustee of The National Museum of Computing which organised the race, said: “This is the first time that machines from so many decades of computing have raced together.
He predicted that there will be other races like this in the future.
“We have many other original working computers, skilfully restored by our Museum volunteers, that could enter the race to demonstrate the advance of computing.” µ
Source : Inquirer