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'[EE] Transputers'
2007\09\21@092934 by Jinx

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Just curious - anyone ever play around with these ?

I'm stripping Nokia switch-cards, 1995 vintage, for parts (it's
an A4-sized, 6-layer board stuffed with GALs, CPLDs, and
bus logic) and had to look up the IMSC011, finding out it's a
"Link Adaptor that communicates with transputers". Oh, OK,
so I'm stripping down a transputer. What's a transputer ?

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Transputer

That would explain what the Intel LN80C31, RAM and ROM
is doing there

2007\09\21@111648 by Howard Winter

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Jinx,

On Sat, 22 Sep 2007 01:29:00 +1200, Jinx wrote:

> Just curious - anyone ever play around with these ?

No, but I had a look at them when they first appeared.  I think they suffered from (a) being too different, so nobody understood what you'd use them for, or how to
do so, and (b) lack of software.  You had to use their own language (occam) and it wasn't anything like any other language, so the hurdle to start using them was
pretty huge.  Good idea, though!  If they'd been cheaper and the software had been easier to get into, they would have been much more successful, IMHO.

At one time you could get a card to go into a PC that had a Transputer on it - I did consider it, but at about 200 quid it was a lot of money in the late 80s.  About
10% of the cost of a PC, in fact!  :-)

{Quote hidden}

Are you saying that there's a Transputer Link Module, but no Transputer?  If there is a Transputer it would have a designation like IMSTxxx since IMS was INMOS's
prefix.

Cheers,


Howard Winter
St.Albans, England


2007\09\21@112926 by Goflo

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---- Jinx <spam_OUTjoecolquittTakeThisOuTspamclear.net.nz> wrote:
> Just curious - anyone ever play around with these ?

Do these count?   http://parallax.com/propeller/

Jack

2007\09\21@113127 by Walter Banks

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Howard Winter wrote:

> At one time you could get a card to go into a PC that had a Transputer on it

There was a neat Transputer demo that used 4 execution engines to bit bash a
color image on a color monitor. 3 colors plus luminance. It was about a
1k by 1k display.

I agree with the other comments it was an unknown quantity, and more
fundamentally no really obvious use at the time.

w..


2007\09\21@122841 by Gacrowell

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Play around with? No.  But in the early '90's I was the initial
principal hardware designer on system that linked over 100 transputer
processors into a parallel processing database.  The project had started
as an academic project, where transputers had a niche.  So, the attempt
to take it commercial carried on with transputers as well.  

100 was just the largest system we built.  That included two disk drives
per processor.  Theoretically it could have been expanded much farther.
It was sure slick to see (hear) 200 disk drives spin up sequentially.

The linking system was incredibly easy to implement - literally just
plug the processors together and they could talk in an array with
minimal software and built-in hardware/firmware.

Looks like the Wikipedia link tells all.  We used the T800/T801 and
waited forever on the T9000, but gave up on it before it ever appeared.
Some third-party 'C' was the development language.  It was all ported to
another processor and the start-up was purchased by Hitachi for peanuts,
who then proceeded to run it into the ground.  It was all sunk by the
development of distributed database systems then anyway.

I got a case of 'data-Cache' coffee cups out of the deal.

Gary



> {Original Message removed}

2007\09\21@131412 by alan smith

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out of curiosity...who was that?  I know of some guys that were messing around with that as well.

.....gacrowellKILLspamspam@spam@micron.com wrote: Play around with? No.  But in the early '90's I was the initial
principal hardware designer on system that linked over 100 transputer
processors into a parallel processing database.  The project had started
as an academic project, where transputers had a niche.  So, the attempt
to take it commercial carried on with transputers as well.  

100 was just the largest system we built.  That included two disk drives
per processor.  Theoretically it could have been expanded much farther.
It was sure slick to see (hear) 200 disk drives spin up sequentially.

The linking system was incredibly easy to implement - literally just
plug the processors together and they could talk in an array with
minimal software and built-in hardware/firmware.

Looks like the Wikipedia link tells all.  We used the T800/T801 and
waited forever on the T9000, but gave up on it before it ever appeared.
Some third-party 'C' was the development language.  It was all ported to
another processor and the start-up was purchased by Hitachi for peanuts,
who then proceeded to run it into the ground.  It was all sunk by the
development of distributed database systems then anyway.

I got a case of 'data-Cache' coffee cups out of the deal.

Gary



> {Original Message removed}

2007\09\21@135139 by Gacrowell

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The company was data-Cache, in Boise, ID.  Purchased by Hitachi in
~1994, the group stayed in Boise for a year or two, then was
assimilated/disbanded.  I doubt that any commercial product ever came
out of it.

Gary

> {Original Message removed}

2007\09\21@180020 by Jinx

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> Are you saying that there's a Transputer Link Module, but no
> Transputer ?

Uh-uh. The 80C31 is the only smart thing I can see there. Other
chips in the vicinity are either RAM, cross-point switches or TTL

Someone off-list suggested the below as modern-day transputers,
or at least they're parallel processors. I can't think of an application
right now, but the start-up prices look reasonable and if I was a
bit less busy and bit wide-eyeder, might give them a look. I'm not
sure if anything they do couldn't be accomplished by a handful of
discretes, but they do have a video generating capability. Which is
also possible with some other uC

Block diagram at bottom of page

"What can you do with eight 32-bit processors (COGs) in one
chip? Real simultaneous multi-processing! The new Propeller
chip is the result of our internal design team working for eight
years"

http://parallax.com/propeller/



2007\09\21@181427 by alan smith

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OK..not the same place.  I think they were doing something with it late 90's but its been too long to recall details.

gacrowellspamKILLspammicron.com wrote: The company was data-Cache, in Boise, ID.  Purchased by Hitachi in
~1994, the group stayed in Boise for a year or two, then was
assimilated/disbanded.  I doubt that any commercial product ever came
out of it.

Gary

> {Original Message removed}

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