Re: transputers was Re: books on programming

From: Tony Finch (
Date: Thu Jan 04 2001 - 14:37:08 PST

Jeff Bone <> wrote:
>What a great architecture! I really wish the transputer had taken

It did! Though because it was targetted at the high end
(supercomputers &c.) it was overtaken by generic microprocessors
coupled with special communications hardware (e.g. Meiko
supercomputers moved from T8s to Sparcs tied to exciting custom link
chips). The T9 was a belated and overambitious attempt to keep the
high ground, but what they really should have done is gone embedded:
they had some cool technology for that market, like their crossbar
switch design (used in some ATM switches as well as tying the parts of
the T9 together) and the high speed link design (now part of
FireWire), and by the early 90s the more mature transputer designs
were competitively small.

Oh well, at least we have ARM to be proud of :-)

>At one point, pre-Sun's big "all the wood behind one arrowhead"
>SPARC push, transputers were the best-selling RISC chips on the

Hmm, I wouldn't call them RISC because they lack too many typically
RISCish features, and some aspects of the transputer ISA conspire
against modern speed improvement techniques in ways that a traditional
RISC ISAs don't. Because of that the moves towards superscalar
execution in the T9 are rather different to anything else in the
industry. (Hmm, actually maybe they were basically translating the
transputer ISA to something RISCish on the fly...)


"Plan 9 deals with the resurrection of the dead."

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