01 June 2016

Back To The Future, part the second

Two bits, so to speak, that may portend a future of computing.

First, Samsung's SSD-in-a-package just announced.

Second, the TI 990 computer from the 1970s.
There are three hard registers in the 990; the Workspace Pointer (WP), the Program Counter (PC) and the Status register (ST). A context switch entailed the saving and restoring of only the hard registers.

WTF, I hear from the peanut gallery. For those that don't read the Wiki piece, the architectural artefact of the 990 that set it apart was that it wasn't a stack machine and was a register machine with, to all intents and purposes, no registers. TI referred to it as a "memory to memory" design. I worked with both the full chassis 990 mini and, not intentionally, the microprocessor successor. Further oddly, recent discussions about the Oracle/Google fight brought me to re-look at the development of the Phoenix BIOS (it ended up being a bone of contention in some discussion threads on the notion of what API "means"). Turns out that the guy on the other side of the Chinese wall in the clean room was chosen specifically because his experience wasn't with Intel cpu, but rather the TI 990 microprocessor. Karma.

Now, I'm in no position, at the moment, to assert that the 990 approach will be resurrected, but the notion has some appeal when cpu, memory, and storage all fit on the motherboard. Perhaps in the embedded arena where windows doesn't matter and linux/qnx/etc. hold sway?

No comments: