An example of a 1-bit computer built from discrete logic SSI chips were the Wang 700 (1968/1970) and Wang 500 (1970/1971) calculator as well as the Wang 1200 (1971/1972) word processor series of Wang Laboratories.
An example of a 1-bit architecture that was actually marketed as a CPU is the Motorola MC14500B Industrial Control Unit (ICU), introduced in 1977 and manufactured at least up into the mid 1990s. One of the computers known to be based on this CPU was the WDR 1-bit computer. A typical sequence of instructions from a program for a 1-bit architecture might be:
- load digital input 1 into a 1-bit register;
- OR the value in the 1-bit register with input 2, leaving the result in the register;
- write the value in the 1-bit register to output 1.
There are also several design studies for 1-bit architectures in academia, and corresponding 1-bit logic can also be found in programming.
Several early massively parallel computers used 1-bit architectures for the processors as well. Examples include the Goodyear MPP and the Connection Machine. By using a 1-bit architecture for the individual processors a very large array (e.g.: the Connection Machine had 65,536 processors) could be constructed with the chip technology available at the time. In this case the slow computation of a 1-bit processor was traded off against the large number of processors.
1-bit CPUs can meanwhile be considered obsolete, not many kinds have been produced and none are known to be available in the major computer component stores (as of 2016[update], a few on eBay). The Finnish company Partco still sells MC14500B as spare part in 2017.
- Wasserman, Katie (March 2006) [January 2004]. "LED calculators rule her house". Computer Collector Newsletter / Technology Rewind (Interview). Interviewed by Koblentz, Evan. Retrieved 2017-05-20.
Probably my most favorite is the Wang 500. It's got several unique things about it: a very unusual ROM memory made of hundreds of long enamel-coated wires wrapped around iron cores; a super-fast single-bit CPU built out of SSI logic chips; and of course tons of really cool-looking colorful keys.
- Product Service - Schematic manual. Wang Laboratories, Inc.. 1974. 03-0019-0. http://www.thebattles.net/oddments/wang/Wang_500_schematics.pdf. Retrieved 2017-05-20.
- "Programmierbare Rechner der 3. Generation mit einfacher IC-Technik" (in German). Kelkheim/Taunus, Germany: technikum29. Wang 700 & Wang 500. http://www.technikum29.de/de/rechnertechnik/ic-technik.
- "Wang Model 500 programmable calculator". Computer History Museum (CHM). http://www.computerhistory.org/collections/catalog/X222.83.
- "Wang 1200 - Wang WP History". 2010-03-07. http://www.wang1200.org/history.html.
- Motorola MC14500B Industrial Control Unit Handbook - Theory and Operation of a CMOS one-bit processor compatible with B series CMOS devices. Motorola Semiconductor Products Inc.. 1977. 33-B78/8.0. http://tinymicros.com/mediawiki/images/e/ec/MC14500B_Handbook.pdf. Retrieved 2017-05-20. (NB. Also available in German language under the title "Motorola MC14500B Industrial Control Unit Handbuch - Theorie und Anwendung eines Ein-Bit-CMOS-Prozessors".)
- Industrial Control Unit MC14500B. Semiconductor Technical Data (revision 3 ed.). Motorola. 1995. pp. 306–313. http://www.brouhaha.com/~eric/retrocomputing/motorola/mc14500b/mc14500brev3.pdf. Retrieved 2012-08-01.
- (in German) Fast alles über den WDR-1-Bit-Computer. Neuss, Germany: DATANorf. 1986. http://wdr-1-bit-computer.talentraspel.de/documents/wdr_1-40.pdf. Retrieved 2017-05-20.
- "CMOS-LOGIC IC 4500 DIP16". http://www.partco.biz/verkkokauppa/product_info.php?products_id=2532&language=en. "Also known as MC14500BCP"
- "The Wang 700 ALU". 2012. http://6502.org:80/users/dieter/a5/a5_5.htm.
- "Wang 700 BCD correction". 2012. http://6502.org:80/users/dieter/bcd2/bcd2_3.htm.
- "The famous/infamous MC14500". 2005. http://www.6502.org/users/dieter/m14500/m14500.htm.
- "MC14500 and arithmetic". 2008. http://www.6502.org/users/dieter/a3/a3_5.htm.
- "A MC14500 modification". 2008. http://www.6502.org:80/users/dieter/a3/a3_6.htm.
- "WDR-1-Bit Computer". OLD-COMPUTERS.COM. http://www.old-computers.com/museum/computer.asp?st=1&c=834.