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Picture of Sophie Wilson working at a board (Photo by Chris Monk)

Architect of the Modern World

Sophie Wilson is a computer scientist who has had an immense impact on our modern world. She is the creator of the Acorn RISC Machine (ARM) processor which is used in almost all smartphones today. Wilson began this project in 1983 and delivered the ARM1 in 1985. By 2012, 95 percent of smartphones used ARM processors. They are ideal for smartphones because they are inexpensive and energy-efficient.

Education Influence

Wilson was also passionate about computer education, something near and dear to our hearts here at Codecademy! She developed an easy-to-use programming language called BBC BASIC which allowed users to learn simple programming concepts in a straightforward environment. It was released in 1981 as part of a larger project to encourage computer education. Wilson described it as:

“a unique moment in time when the public wanted to know how this stuff works and could be shown and taught how to programme.”

Instructions

Let’s use the terminal as if it were a BBC Basic program. This programming language has no text editor, so we will have to specify a line number for each command. Type in the following command in the terminal:

10 PRINT "SOPHIE WILSON IS AN ICON"

and hit ENTER

Notice a couple of things. 10 is the specified line number. The command is in all caps lock. If you get the following warning:

command not recognized

Double-check that you have typed in the command correctly.

You also may have noticed that nothing prints. This is because we have to tell the machine to actually run the program. Type:

RUN

and hit ENTER

You should see the following output:

SOPHIE WILSON IS AN ICON

Awesome! We have figured out how to use a print statement using BBC BASIC.

Since BBC BASIC only allows for the use of a terminal, we need to be able to move around our document. To do this, type:

20 GOTO 10

and hit ENTER

This tells our program to move from its current line, 20, to a different line, 10.

Next, type:

LIST

and hit ENTER

You should see the following output:

10 PRINT "SOPHIE WILSON IS AN ICON" 20 GOTO 10

This would be how you keep track of your entire program using BBC BASIC!

If you want to learn more about the programming language, read more about it here.

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