As you may have gathered from my recent musings on wrapping my brain around the Arduino and choosing a platform for my Arduino-based robot, I'm rather interested in "all things Arduino" at the moment.
Now, I know that the processor in my Arduino Uno platform is the ATmega328 from Atmel. I also know that the low-power ATmega328 is a modern incarnation of the AVR. Way back in the 1990s, the architectures of most 8-bit microcontrollers were not ideally suited to implementing programs captured in C. By this I mean that the C compiler had to jump through hoops to generate machine code that would execute efficiently on the MCU (this is still true of some 8-bit architectures to this day).
Thus it was that two students at the Norwegian Institute of Technology (NTH) -- Alf-Egil Bogen and Vegard Wollan -- developed the AVR, which was subsequently acquired by Atmel. In addition to having an architecture that could support the efficient execution of programs captured in C, the AVR was one of the first microcontroller families to use on-chip flash memory for program storage, as opposed to the one-time programmable (OTP) ROM, EPROM, or EEPROM used by other microcontrollers at the time.
Now, I love learning nuggets of knowledge and tidbits of trivia, so you can only imagine my surprise and delight when I received an email from my old chum, Sylvie Barak, saying that she has created an infographic on this very topic:
(Click here to visit Sylvie's blog and see a larger, more detailed version of this little beauty [the infographic, not Sylvie])
From this infographic, I have discovered all sorts of things, such as the fact that my Arduino Uno would run at 65+MHz if I cooled it down with liquid nitrogen; also the fact that a single nuclear power plant could theoretically power seven quadrillion AVRs in their sleep mode.
Do you know how many bananas it would take to power my Arduino Uno? I do. Can you guess how I discovered this exotic morsel of minutiae? Yes, you are of course correct, it did indeed originate from Sylvie's infographic.