microcoding a PC into a PDP-11 (was: RE: Classic Computers vs.

From: Jeffrey S. Sharp <jss_at_subatomix.com>
Date: Wed Sep 19 18:53:32 2001

On Wed, 19 Sep 2001, Tony Duell wrote:
> Now, as far as I can see, there's mothing to limit the complexity of
> the micromachine. So, why can't we consider the Pentium as a
> micromachine

Good point. I agree. The boundary between the levels is totally in the
eyes of the beholder.

What physical format would this project assume? I can think of several
right off hand:

* A card that emulates CPU/memory and plugs into the (Uni|Q)bus of
  existing machines.
* A box that sits inside a PDP-11 cabinet and replaces the entire bus and
  all of the cards.
* A hand-held, battery-powered unit similar to a Game Boy.

It's the third idea that seems the coolest to me. Build it low-power
enough to run on a few batteries. Give it a front panel with switches and
LEDs for the processor and emulated peripherals. Add a serial link (or
maybe even a Zip disk) for transferring files to/from another computer.
It would be the ultimate toy. Just think of all the flavors it could be
made in.

I'd love to take one of those to class with me. The other CS majors, with
their PalmPilots and their MP3 playaers and their TI-92s, would be
absolutely blown away.

Jeffrey S. Sharp
Received on Wed Sep 19 2001 - 18:53:32 BST

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