[TUHS] The evolution of Unix facilities and architecture

Ron Natalie ron at ronnatalie.com
Wed May 17 09:18:29 AEST 2017

The wirewrap comment reminds me of another catastrophe.   BRL had one of the few operational Denelcor HEP supercomputers.    Amusingly the thing was front ended with an 11/34 and had an io processor with 32 Unibuses connected to it.    While we were still shaking the thing out at the factory (Mike Muuss shot his mouth off that we could get UNIX to run on the thing, and it turned out nobody had a better idea).    We'd come in at night (while the Denelcor employees had the machine in the day).    I'd regularly read the log about what happened that day.    Well, one day it read that someone had neatened up one of the system backplanes by taking the wires that were overly long and shortening them.    

Now this thing was all built out of 10800 ECL and those wires were "overly long" and stuffed into the backplane because the length was needed to control the signal propagation times.    I told Mike I had a bad feeling about this and the machine might not be usable.

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