Request for CDC3300/3500 software

From: Gary Oliver <>
Date: Tue May 5 17:43:39 1998

I'm "just about" finished with an emulator for a Control Data
3300 computer (you might ask "why" - I'll explain later.)

But I'm looking for diagnostics tapes (instruction, floating point,
mass storage, memory, etc.) Also, other operating systems would
be interesting (I was dumb back in the 70's and didn't make copies
of all my old stuff...) such as Master with MATS or MSOS or Realtime
Scope. (I have no problem reading 7 track tapes.)

I'm building this primarily to resurrect an obscure language, also
developed at OSU, called "Oscar". It was a numerical person's
dream interactive system for it's time (way before common graphics
terminals, alas) including all sorts of large precision arith and
rational number management (ratios of integral fractions) which made
matrix manipulations a lot easier. Oscar ran under OS-3 and hence the
need for the emulator. Besides, it's fun. (And I have source for damn
near all of the OS-3 system, languages and tools (I was "with it"
enough to make copies of those at least.) The original 3300 at OSU was
"decommissioned" back in the early 80s, so this part is even "on topic!"

It's a bit depressing (and humiliating) to see that my entirely-C-based
emulator (i.e. NO assembler "optimization" on my part) runs at nearly
the speed of the original machine on a lowly 66 mhz 486. (1.6us/cycle
where instructions USUALLY took 2 cycles, for fetch and memory reference.)
It'll probably scream on a reasonable Pentium-class system. (By inference
will we be writing emulators in 15 to 20 years that emulate 400 mhz Pentiums
and Power PCs at the full speed of day? Boggles the mind...)

I'm emulating most CDC periphs (as far as I can without real "iron") so
the emulator should handle virtual 604/607 tape drives, disk controllers,
501/512 printers, card readers, punches, etc.

I realize this may be a bit "off topic" with respect to the other
"mainstream" collectable computers (dec/hp/etc.) but, hey! it's
what I learned on way back when. And the computer was far too large
to ever think of "owning" one.

For reference, the 3300 was a 3rd generation computer (no IC's - all
Germanium transistors) with memory that came in chunks of 8k words
(24 bits) all the way up to 256k words (LOTS of boxes.) Each 8k
took half a 7 foot tall by 6 foot wide rack (IIRC). I think
very late in life they had 32k modules... 24 bit ones-complement
math with a "reasonable" two-state architecture (program/system
mode) that actually worked (OSU's may have been the only one that
really challenged it, though, running timesharing software on it.)

Any and all software for the beast would be welcome. For reference,
anything for the 3150, 3200, 3300 or 3500 would be welcome, as well
as any CDC docs on these machines. I've got quite a few, but some
of the more obscure controllers (3317 terminal control, for example)
eluded me. Information on 3600 or 3800 (a sort of "48 bit word" 3300
and 3500) would also be welcome, as these two lines shared a lot of
peripherals and controllers.

And of course, assuming anyone else is as silly as me and wants to
play with this mess, I'm happy to make the source/executables available
(it's Linux based.) It's not "ready for prime time" yet, but soon...

Thanks for sharing the bandwidth,

Received on Tue May 05 1998 - 17:43:39 BST

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