Its namesake invented the Von Neumann architecture (VNA) in a specific computing environment and a specific context. In light of those two:

  1. What kind of limitations was the VNA designed to work with?

  2. What features in the VNA reflect that?

  3. What kind of purpose did Von Neumann intend for the VNA?

  4. How did the design of the VNA accomplish his purpose?

  • 2
    $\begingroup$ I don't understand why this got downvotes. At the time von Neumann developed the idea, some computers had been built along other lines, so it seems like a legitimate question. You might find something relevant in the book The Turing Guide, edited by Copeland et al. (maybe in chapters 6 or 20), but there are probably better sources for answers. Another possible place to ask is the History of Science and Mathematics stackexchange site. $\endgroup$
    – Mars
    Commented May 20, 2020 at 15:59

1 Answer 1


The von Neumann architecture was built for sequential computing. It was groundbreaking because it combined the instructions in memory along with the data for the instructions in the same space. Before this, programming required rewiring because each machine was built with a specific purpose in mind.

The essential idea is abstraction on some level. The people who design the actual machines don't need to concern themselves with what software will be written for the machine. Rather, they make a few basic commands extremely efficient. The software teams then efficiently use these commands, allowing a generalizable/abstractable computer model.


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