Melia Antifa Profile picture
Apr 10 8 tweets 1 min read
The most fascinating thing about the transputer tech is that they were *right* but not targeting the right niche

they wanted them to be a universal general-purpose computer system but that's not really where you need massively-parallel systems
even at the time they caught on for image processing and scientific experiments, places where you'd use compute units today
my video card has 36 shader processors that contain thousands of processors running in parallel to draw 2B's ass
The biggest problem was Moore’s Law held way longer than expected and you couldn’t scale transputer designs to compete against early-90s RISC systems or even commodity hardware, and that they could never make them cheap enough to compete against microcontrollers
Their idea was “if every device in your system contains a transputer, every computer becomes a massively parallel supercomputer” since every device controller could contribute its spare cycles to running general-purpose operations

that… never really happened, obviously
turns out you don’t need a massively parallel supercomputer unless you’re doing very specific things like network operations or digital imaging

ISDN hardware saw a lot of transputers being used for example
analog signal analyzers too until DSPs outclassed them

and what is CUDA but running a program on a gazillion compute units in parallel. it was GPGPU before we even had GPUs!
I’ve got a tabletop Tektronix SS7 analyzer here that features a whopping 7 transputer cores on two enormous cards, used for analyzing telephone system traffic

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More from @LuigiThirty

Apr 10
now then let’s poke through the transputer C compiler manual to figure out how to make it do thing
it’s from 1992 so it’s ANSI C, plus INMOS specific concurrency and threading extensions along with headers for interacting with the system links
it supports a lot of host systems too
Read 7 tweets
Apr 10

holy SHIT
what if we could, like, break tasks down into small pieces that independent processor units can execute in parallel
there's a company that's planning on releasing a COMMERCIAL PARALLEL PROCESSOR!? here in 1986!?


Read 4 tweets
Apr 9
Today’s mission is to write an 8080 emulator in ANSI C. To the data sheet!

Fortunately, we have a pretty small instruction set that looks like it’s easy to break down. If you treat opcodes as 3 octal digits (0NN, NNN, NNN) it looks like it makes more sense.
eg the “do something to A” opcodes are 10AAABBB with A being the operation and B being the source, while the version that takes an Immediate is 11AAA110
Read 6 tweets
Apr 8
While I’m at it I should get back to working on MVME stuff in MAME too

No more burnout now that I have a day job and can feel like I’m being productive without writing C 24 hours a day (thanks capitalism brain poisoning)
The big problem was MAME’s interrupt handling with the 68K wasn’t accurate enough for the bus protocol iirc

I upgraded the 305 emulation to subcycle accuracy (nothing else uses it) but don’t want to touch the 68K core itself (EVERYTHING USES IT)
So I’ll get my PR stuff collected and submitted to fix the 305 and add enough VMEbus to boot the monitor
Read 4 tweets
Apr 8
picked up a set of VSTs here and i'm ready Image
the real version of this is at my dad's house somewhere needing a new power jack soldered in lol Image
it was my dad's band's and ended up my first keyboard

yeah, it looks like a toy and the presets are awful. but it has a unique sound and you can get some POWERFUL sounds out of it with the right programming (and some simple effects)

Read 5 tweets
Apr 8
I need to try a different BeOS keyboard driver but I... can't... rename mine... without a keyboard...
I'm not sure why the USB keyboard doesn't work either considering it's got UHCI support and the keyboard definitely supports UHCI (it works in Windows 98 with a generic HID driver)
I did figure out BeOS assigned the USB controller and NIC to the same IRQ?
Read 6 tweets

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