Sophie Wilson is a computer scientist who designed the architecture behind the Acorn Micro-Computer — the first computer sold by British technology company, Acorn Computers. She has also made significant contributions to the development of the ARM microprocessor, found in over half of the world’s consumer electronics, and the Firepath processor that supports broadband infrastructure worldwide.
In 1981, Sophie extended Acorn’s home computer BASIC programming language. A more advanced microcomputer that ensued won the company a contract with the BBC and spawned the BBC Micro, for which the BBC BASIC programming language was developed. Sophie then designed the instruction set for the ARM microprocessor, which later became one of the most successful licenced computer cores.
Sophie designed the VLIW FirePath processor architecture and was part of a start-up to exploit the processor, which was subsequently bought by US ‘fabless’ semiconductor company Broadcom. Sophie is now Senior Technical Director for Broadcom where she is still developing FirePath. She was elected a Fellow of the Computer History Museum in Silicon Valley in 2012.
Interest and expertise
Communications incl information theory, Computer engineering (including software)
Royal Society Mullard Award
Jointly awarded to Professor Stephen Furber and Ms Sophie Wilson for their distinguished contributions to the design and analysis of the Acorn RISC Machine (ARM), the most successful embedded processor architecture in the world.