Built a 16-bit CPU using Excel, how to do it?

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Built a 16-bit CPU using Excel, how to do it?

Posted Date: 2024-02-01

In the eyes of most people, Excel is just a software for making and editing tables, but someone actually used Excel to build a 16-bit CPU processor! How did he do that?

EDN Electronics Design reports that Inkbox on YouTube is built in Excel and runs at a 3Hz clock frequency, and features 128KB of RAM, a 16-color 128x128 pixel display, and custom assembly language, all within the popular spreadsheet.

On January 27, 2024, YouTuber Inkbox released a 16-minute video "I built my own 16-Bit CPU in Excel", detailing how they built a fully functional CPU within the limitations of Microsoft Excel. He didn't even use VB scripts and plug-ins, but simply used Excel to get a 16-bit CPU processor.

Even more surprising, Inkbox creates a fully functional assembly language for the Excel CPU. This assembly language Excel-ASM16 contains 23 different instructions and supports variables, labels, and even binary file support. These are basic assembly language functions, but are sufficient for the limitations of 16-bit CPUs running under Microsoft Excel.

Overall, the 16-bit Excel CPU project will not be used as a breakthrough in modern computing. It does, however, show quite a bit of technical know-how and ingenuity from Inkbox, and since he's shared Excel-ASM16 and its CPU for free on Github along with some example programs, you can even try it out yourself!

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