Talk Of Building A Computer...

From: Hans B Pufal <>
Date: Thu Nov 20 06:35:53 1997

HOTZE wrote:
> think that I've got a (bad, possibly) idea. In the earlier half of this
> century, transistors weren't avaible... vaccum tubes... huge ones, but
> now, the transistor has made small ones possible. My point: If we were
> to take a tubed design, and re-build it with transistors, we could
> probably make it a decent size.

Not a bad idea at all. This is something I have been tinkering with for
quite some time (about 20 years!). At that time, I was a student and my
university tutor had worked on the DEUCE machine (similar to Turings
ACE) [These machines are admissible here arn't they? ;-)]

The main memory of the DEUCE was built form mercury delay lines of 1024
bits, and the 1024 bit shift register chip had just become available.
The connection was obvious and we spent hours discussing the rebuilding
a TTL version of DEUCE, for which he still had the logic diagrams. Alas
the project was never completed but I have dreams of doing it one day.

I see this as more than just an academic project, rebuilding these old
machines in current technology is really the only way in which they can
be preserved and made available for study, excepting perhaps via
emulators (another of my passions).

Take the idea even further : the technology exists today to build most
if not all first generations machines on a single chip. Indeed I wonder
if an FPGA might not be able to be reconfigurable to build many of these
early machines, certainly a few FPGA's together with the new
programmable routiing chips (from GateWay?) should do the job. Thus we
can build on hardware base capable of emulating or recreating many of
the early machines, just add software.

There is obviously a fine line between this and doing an emulator on a
modern machine but I think both are equally valuable to presevre the
intellectual ideas behind theose early machines.

> So, what da ya think?

I'm not usually so eloquent, but you touch one of my hot spots with this


 Hans B. Pufal : <>
 Comprehensive Computer Catalogue : <>
Received on Thu Nov 20 1997 - 06:35:53 GMT

This archive was generated by hypermail 2.3.0 : Fri Oct 10 2014 - 23:30:35 BST