[DIGITAL Computing Timeline: 8/18/1997] http://research.microsoft.com/en-us/um/people/gbell/Digital/timeline/1964-1.htm: "26 Installed"?!!! most sources say 23?!
First delivery: summer 1964 [BELL 1978] p.44
"System 1 is the prototype located at Maynard, Massachusetts. It is being used to develop more advanced time-sharing systems, and has been operational since Spring of 1964. Further use of the PDP-6 in Maynard is discussed by Mr. Harrison ["Dit"] Morse in his article on Page 1.
A new arm, almost completed, is shown in Figure 2. This arm, specifically designed for the project, will be less massive and more versatile than previous designs. Its two main parts are a shoulder and an arm. The shoulder is a strong but slim stand, that terminates in a two-axis rotation joint (not shown in these pictures). The arm is a modular jointed system. Each section consists of a long tetrahedral "bone" with two hydraulic-cylinder "biceps". With four sections, the system resembles a tentacle (or really a lobster arm) rather than a humanoid or industrial-type arm. Since it is important that the "hand" bo able to reach any point in a portion of space from any direction, this requires at least six axes, in addition to grasping.
The Artificial Intelligence Laboratory ITS system includes both a PDP-10 computer and a PDP-6, its slower predecesor. These are configured to give the PDP-6 a small private core memory which is accessible by the PDP-10, where the time-sharing monitor runs. Normally the PDP-6 can not access the memory being primarily used by the PDP-10. Each processor has exclusive control over some basic input-output devices attached to their input-output signal buss but beyond these devices the busses are time multiplexed into a single buss with an extra signal which indicates which processor has the shared buss for any particular cycle. Devices on the shared buss normally have simple assignment hardware which allows one processor at a time to seize each of them. Until released by their controlling processor they ignore commands from the other processor except that an attempt to read their status will reveal their processor assignment state.
All of the important robotics devices on the Artificial Intelligence Laboratory system are on the shared input-Output buss and may be assigned to the PDP-6 where programs of unusual time criticality or input-output organization can be developed. Through ITS, the PDP-6 can be made to appear as a procedure in a s procedure tree. Thus programs can be easily loaded into or dumped from the PDP-6 and to some extent controlled and debugged by a procedure running on the PDP-10. To further facilitate interprocessor communication, a device has been made accessible to each computer by which it can interrupt the other. If the PDP-10 is thus interrupted by the PDP-6, ITS will communicate this to the procedure in the time-sharing system that has attached the PDP-6. Finally, a system call is available in ITS to similarly interrupt the PDP-6.
A jname of PDP6 or PDP10 opens up the PDP-6 as the "job". (PDP10 as a jname goes back to the days when the PDP-6 ran ITS and the PDP-10 was the auxiliary processor!)
A skeletal pseudo-ITS was written to run on the PDP-6. It has all the necessary hooks to attach the network Code and an even greater propensity than regular ITS to halt at the first sign of trouble. As a result of this means of development, the ARPA network will be usable, in a limited manner, from the Artificial Intelligence Laboratory even when ITS or the PDP-10 are unavailable.
System No. 2 has been installed at M.I.T.'s Project MAC since November 1964. They are planning to use the PDP-6 as an integral time-sharing component interfaced to the 7094 for the purpose of studying visual communication methods between man and machine. Dr. Minsky of the institute plans to use it also for development of programming languages and information retrieval.
The PDP-6 computer, .... was, after delivery in January, 1965, debugged to the point where later in 1965 time-sharing was adoped as the operational mode, and multi-user operations have expanded ever since.
... Figure 1 shows a typical configuration of users utilizing the PDP-6 system during the previous year or so (prior to the summer of 1969 AGS shutdown). By this time the PDP-6 had been expanded to include 80-96K of 2.0 microsecond core, a 450,000 word disc, five high performance magnetic tapes, 8-10 DECtapes and two printers. It also included a remote I/O user station which contained a printer and DECtapes.
System No. 3 is scheduled to be installed at Brookhaven National Laboratory this month. To be used in high energy physics work, this unique system is mounted in a large trailer and is completely mobile. The PDP-6 replaces the Merlin System for the purpose of on- line reduction of data derived from scintillation counter hodoscopes, sonic spark chambers and wire spark chambers.
Greetings to all you other DEC-10 aficionados! I started my association with DEC-10s in March 1969, with the PDP-6 installed at the University of WA, and finished it on 30-Jun-89 when the KL10 was decommissioned. The DEC-10 represents the pinnacle of programmers' computers! Sigh.
Signed: Alex Reid, Head, Office of Information Technology, UWA.
The PDP-6 was the first computer sold by DEC in Australia and the first general purpose timesharing computer to be installed in Australia.
During 1963, five Australian universities were funded to buy large computers. A team from DEC visited Australia and as a result of seeing this demand, the PDP-6 development direction was changed from physics research to timesharing.
Only one, the University of Western Australia, made the extremely bold decision (for those days) to buy a timesharing computer from a small, unknown company in Massachusetts. The others bought batch machines from IBM and CDC.
This PDP-6, serial number 4, was shipped to Perth in December 1964.
The initial configuration consisted of a processor, 32,000 words (160Kbytes) of 36 bit memory with 5 microsecond cycle time, 8 DECtape drives, a 300 cpm reader, a 300 lpm printer, a special graphics screen and 8 teletype lines.
A total of 23 PDP-6's were sold world-wide. The Perth one was upgraded over the years and turned Perth into a "DEC" town for two decades.
My first Time-Shared computer - the Digital Equipment Corp PDP-6. This was delivered to the University of WA in May 1965, and became the first commercially-delivered time-shared computer anywhere in the world.
Pictured before it left the factory in Maynard, Massachussetts:
Pictured towards the end of its useful life (1972), with Dennis Moore and Yow Kwan:
The University of Western Australia, Nedlands, Western Australia will be receiving System No. 4 early in 1965. This will be the first computation center installation where the central processor will be time shared via remote teletype stations. The scientific computation center will be used in crystalography research and time sharing will aid student training in computer technology. The PDP-6 will also be used for accounting and information retrieval by the Administration Department.
Lawrence Radiation Laboratory is scheduled for System No. 5. The laboratory plans to use the PDP-6 as the I/O processor in the OCTOPUS System. Its function will be to control all input/output transfers between each of the following components:
2 IBM 7094's
2 CDC 3600's
3 IBM 1402's
1 CDC 6600
1 IBM STRETCH
1 UNIVAC LARC
10 Tape Units
1 Radiation printer (30,000 Ipm)
The largest PDP-6 configuration being built to date is System No. 6, Keydata Coporation, a subsidiary of Charles W. Adams Associates, will install the system [in] Technology Square, Cambridge, Massachusetts. The Keydata facility, connected to terminals located on subscribers' premises, will function on-line in real-time to provide computer services to scientific and business users.
A REPORT ON THE IMPLEMENTATION OF THE KEYDATA SYSTEM
Charles W. Adams, C.W. Adams Associates, Inc.
Abstract: The KEYDATA System utilizes a PDP-6 (with 48K core, a million-word drum, a 33-million-character disc file and a full-duplex Type 630 interface) as the control facility for on-line, real-time data processing services offered to business and engineering users through KEYDATA Stations (Teletypewriters) located on their preimses. Both packaged services, such as the preparation of invoices and the entry and correction of FORTRAN programs and data, operate through the KOP-3 executive routine.
... In the KOP-3 system, the drum serves as the primary storage for all data and programs 9except KOP-3) and also acts as the file directory, output buffer, and repository for the most active file records. Working storage is provided through automatic allocation of core memory in 32-word pages.
The untold story about Keydata is that it was indeed very flakey, mainly due to the huge number of small memory racks. They didn't go to an alternate memory vendor like MAC did. BUT when they gave the machine back to DEC, DEC did a thorough shakedown and sold it to United Aircraft. Where it ran very solidly for some years with almost no downtime.
There is also a small amount of material related to the development and lease of the PDP-6 line, including operation plans, market analyses, product strategies, budgets, sales information, and the details of a failed agreement with Charles W. Adams Associates to lease a PDP-6 for Adams' Keydata Corporation division, which was ultimately terminated due to DEC’s failure to fulfill its obligations.
Plano's PDP-1 computer was replaced by a PDP-6 computer in 1965, giving the Physics Department an advanced time-sharing machine with more power than the University's computing center. This was used for online checking and analyzing of the bubble-chamber experiments, and provided computing for the rest of the Department.
After the submission of the 1965 proposal, some of the equipment listed in that proposal was obtained from the science section of the NSF, including $242,000 for the expansion of the PDP-6 computer.
Rutgers University, Physics Department, will be using System No. 7 in their high energy physics work. Utilizing a film reader, they will perform nuclear particle analysis.
A 16K PDP-6 system performing on-line checking and processing of bubble chamer data for four measuring machines has been in operation since June, 1965..... With an additional 16K of core memory and using the new FORTRAN IV compiler, on-line spatial reconstruction and kinematics will also be implemented. All of the above are in conjunction with the simultaneous use of the standard PDP-6 time-sharing software.
System No. 8 is scheduled for M.I. T.'s Laboratory for Nuclear Science. The laboratory will use the PDP-6 to control their Precision Encoding and Pattern Recognition (PEPR) System. The role of the PDP-6 in the system is to generate the scan pattern commands, store the coordinates of the detected tracks, and single out those tracks which are of interest to the investigators.
University of Bonn, Bonn Germany has ordered a PDP-6 to be used in the control of a Precision Encoding and Pattern Recognition (PEPR) System.
This system will include the PDP-6, 2 core memories, 16,384 words ea., Data Channel Type 136, Mag Tape Control Type 506-521, DECtape Transport 555, DECtape control Unit 551, Type 340 Display w/ light pen, Mag Tape Transport, Card Reader and Control, Line Printer and Control, 630 Data Communications System for three stations utilizing console typewriter and two additional teleprinters Type KSR 33.
NEWS ITEMS: UNIVERSITY OF BONN TO USE PDP-6 IN PHYSICS DEPT.
The PDP-6 is scheduled to arrive at the University sometime in June.
UNIVERSITY OF AACHEN USING PDP-6 IN HIGH ENERGY PHYSICS RESEARCH
The PDP-6 consists of arithmetic processor and console teleprinter, 32,768 word memory, 200 card-per-minute reader, 300 line-per-minute printer, data control dual DECtape transports and control, two industry compatible magnetic tape transports and control, and a data communications system with six remote input/output stations.
BACTERIA-SCANNING SYSTEM CONTROLLED BY PDP-6
A computer-based scanning system to study bacteria, viruses, and other microorganisms which infect man is being built by the University of California at Berkeley under a grant from the Public Health Service.
The primary purpose of the research program, which will use the new system, is to make an intensive study of the hereditary characteristics of microbes. Investigators will try to learn what nutrients the microorganisms need, to what drugs they are sensitive, and what happens to them in various temperature, lighting, and environmental changes.
The scanner will also serve as an experimental diagnostic system to identify infectious diseases sooner than is now pos- sible. More rapid diagnosis, permitting faster selection and administering of the most effective drug, could result in more rapid recovery in addition to shedding light on the genetics and physiology of the microorganisms.
The system is being built as part of a 5-year, $1.24-million program to be administered by the National Institute of General Medical Sciences. Directing the program is Dr. Donald A. Glaser, professor of physics and molecular biology at the University and a Nobel prize winner in physics.
The new system, similar in concept to others being used in several leading physics laboratories to study the structure of the atom, will identify microbes by comparing them with stored images of all known types. Dr. Glaser believes identification may be possible within 12 to 18 hours after examining a patient, rather than after the 48-hour incubation period commonly needed now.
The system will be controlled by a PDP-6 computer. Stored in its memory will be characteristic patterns of known microbes. Examining the unknown microbes in a specimen taken from the patient will be an optical device known as a flying spot scanner.
The scanner uses a cathode ray tube as a light source and a light-sensitive device as a detector. The specimen is posi- tioned between them, and the light beam of the cathode ray tube sweeps repeatedly across the specimen under control of the computer. The varying amounts of light reaching the detector as the light beam passes from transparent to opaque areas of the specimen enable the computer to recreate in its memory the mathematical representation it needs to com- pare the unknown and known patterns.
* This investigation has been supported in part by the Atomic Energy Commission and is currently supported by the National Aeronautics and Space Administration under Grant NGR-05–003–091, by the Public Health Service through research grants GM 12524 and GM 13244 from the National Institute of General Medical Sciences, and the Joint Services Electronics Program under Grant AF-AFOSR–139–65.
PDP-6 AND PDP-8 JOIN EMPEROR VAN DE GRAAF ACCELERATOR
Rochester University's Nuclear Structure Research Laboratory will be installing an on-line time-sharing computer system for experimenting with its new Emperor Van de Graaf Accelerator some time in January. The system will be used for time-shared computation and on-line data acquisition for several nuclear experments. Major elements of the system are PDP-6 and PDP-8 computers and a new intercommunication subsystem.
"Became operational in January 1966"
There are 12 modules in original DEC cardboard box. The object is from Stanford's PDP-6 (from Bruce Kennard, Stanford DEC CE). The object category needs to verified by content specialist. Exhibit label for a PDP-6 Module (including contextual paragraph) is located in Object File. -- JAC 10/25/2001
"... DEC started to ship all its products by truck. Twelve-foot trucks. DEC learned a lot more at a well-known bridge on Route 62 in Hudson, Massachusetts. An eleven-foot bridge. (This is where DEC made its first drop shipment.) The PDP-6 that made this unfortunate journey was already some months late for the University of Pennsylvania. DEC, not having its own van at the time, had rented some space in a moving van filled with household goods. The PDP-6 was in the back of the van, and it appears that the furniture successfully cushioned the impact of the computer. They did have to shovel the remains out of the truck afterwards, however. (The PDP-6 was able to be repaired in a couple of more months.)" [PH1984]
The School of Medicine became owner of the fastest and most flexible computer on the Pennsylvania campus December 5 when the new Digital Equipment Corporation PDP-6 digital computer began operation. It replaces a computer system installed three and one-half years ago. The new computer, which cost $750,000, was purchased under a grant from the U. S. Public Health Service, which also has granted operational funds for the next six years. It has been installed in the Medical School's Alfred Newton Richards Medical Research Building.
[PLB: I seem to recall Al Blackington saying he had done the disk driver for a disk like that. Could there have been two??]
Work on the Dynamic Modeling System began, effectively, in October, 1969, when a used PDP-6 computer with 32K words of memory was delivered to Project MAC.
Full ITS first ran on the AI PDP6, and was ported to the DM PDP6. Later, PDP10s became available, and the labs acquired some of the earliest ones -- the AI-KA10 (AI Lab's machine), the ML KA-10 (used by the MathLab, Theory of Computation, Automatic Programming, and certain other LCS groups), and the DMS KA-10 (Dynamic Modeling Systems, also used by certain other LCS groups); these replaced the PDP-6s, which were slowly phased out.
- Page 1: "The IINCP"
- Our experiments were run on the MITDG PDP-6/10 using what we have affectionately called our 'interim interim NCP' (IINCP). Under the IINCP the IMP Interface is treated as a single-user I/O device which deals in raw network messages. The software supporting necessary system calls includes little more than the basic interrupt-handling and buffering schemes to be used later by the NCP. In short, the user-level programs which brought us to our historic moments were written close to the hardware with full knowledge of IMP-HOST Protocol (BBN 1822).
- Page 4: "The Harvard-MIT Graphics Experiment"
- At Harvard are a PDP-10 Time-sharing System and a graphics oriented PDP-1, both connected to Harvard's IMP. At MITDG are a PDP-6/10 Time-sharing System and an E&S Line Drawing System. It was felt (Messre. Barker, Cohen, McQuillan, Metcalfe, and Taft) that the time had come to demonstrate that the network could make remote resource available - to give Harvard access to the E&S at MITDG via the network.
- Page 9:
- The Dynamic Modeling Group, formed at the beginning of the year to develop techniques and an interactive computer system to facilitate the formulation and testing of ideas in terms of computer-program models, acquired as a foundation for its system a Digital Equipment Corporation PDP-6/10 computer and the very sophisticated and responsive time-sharing software developer since 1965 by members of the Artificial Inetlligence Group.
.... In the areas of Computer Networks and Computer Graphics, the past year's efforts were mainly groundwork. The Interface Message Processor that will connect Multics and one or both of the PDP-6/10 computer systems to a coast-to-coast network of research computers was installed, and an advanced display subsystem was incorporated into the dynamic modeling computer system. At the end of the year, the net- work and graphics programs were shifting into high gear.
- Page 59:
- ... at Project MAC, both the Multics GE 645 system and the Dynamic Modeling and Computer Graphics Groups' PDP-6/10 system are network hosts.
According to Tim Anderson, the Project MAC group Dynamic Modeling/Computer Graphics took delivery of the very last PDP-6 from a previous owner. They adopted the AI Lab's ITS operating system, but shortly after moved onto a PDP-10.
Private communication from Peter:
"When I joined DEC [from LNS] in '68, the PDP-10 had just started shipping. Most of the history recounted in that talk came from my own memories and from hearing stories from people like Alan Kotok or Tom Hastings on our regular dinners out at Chez Claude's or the local Chinese restaurant."