Man builds giant, discrete-component-based computer that can play Tetris

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Aww, no core memory? I guess the blinkenlights are more fun anyway.

After my rant yesterday, I’m almost sad Cory didn’t call this a “Tetris emulator”.


… and for what it’s worth I love seeing homebrew computers built on a macro scale like this where you can actually see the discrete components and a naked eye view of how everything ties together. This one is especially spectacular.

The LED blinkenlights here are great as well. I don’t have an oscilloscope so placing strategic LEDs is a great debugging tool when I’m working on projects with digital logic. There’s something very satisfying about seeing the lights blinking on and off as the bits flow through the circuit and I tend to keep them there even after I’m done.


You can download an emulator …

Wait wait wait.

Dude builds a giant version of a microprocessor. Then he makes it so a tiny microprocessor can emulate the giant emulation of a tiny microprocessor?

And it’s not in Minecraft, right?


So cool!! Every high school in the country could be teaching computational analysis instead of intermediate algebra and using a project like this as the lab.


Yet. And until I seen Minecraft run DOOM, I won’t really be impressed (though the GBA is a sight).


Done before:

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um, no.
You need your algebra
to do calc
to do physics
to understand physical boundaries of computational lithography:

or else no more better-er clicky-clicky and bliken-lites.
I love the way this article starts - “This article may be too technical for most readers to understand.” my point exactly.

You need your computational analysis skills to do algebra to do calc to do physics . . . .


I need your definition of computational analysis.

Solving problems with observation and logic?

That’s a middle-school skill. Students need to start algebra by high school, preferably before, or they’re never going to learn it to the point where it is natural and therefore useful.

We used to build computers with relays and paper clips when I was in high school, but that wasn’t in place of algebra.


Maybe I should have gone to your school. :slight_smile:

Three students in my HS class got PhDs in Math, two in Physics, and one in CS, and another bunch went on to be engineers and MBAs, so that part of our curriculum apparently worked. (Public school, BTW.)


That’s impressive. And public school too. Which county?

Lake, in Illinois. (Maybe “which decade” would have been a better question?)

You are substituting “computational” for “semantic” as in the natural language approach? That was pretty much discredited as a basis for computational theory in the 70’s, but I like the cut of your jib (obscure MIT Pirate Certification reference inserted here).
In elementary arithmetic we called those “word problems”. In Physics class they were just “problems”.
Computational analysis had commonly been used to describe a domain of problems that can only be solved with repetitive statistical approximation yielding a high enough probability the hypothesis was assumed correct.
Maybe it’s redefined now? Way-back-when “Computer” was a human job title. Things change.
Teach your kids to look for their X and find out Y.

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:slight_smile: I’m a people person.

Why do you say that?

Curricula change. Intense tracking was all the rage when I was a student, which also had a huge impact on how material was taught. The ed world consensus seems to be that too much tracking is bad for the success of students in the middle 2 quartiles so it is now done much less, but math education for the top quartile is now much more packaged (and frustratingly repetitive) and less exploratory than it used to be.

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