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THE AMPOS MULTIPROCESSOR SYSTEM "LA Computer System for Laboratory Use

IP.com Disclosure Number: IPCOM000128234D
Original Publication Date: 1983-Dec-31
Included in the Prior Art Database: 2005-Sep-15
Document File: 13 page(s) / 43K

Publishing Venue

Software Patent Institute

Related People

Malcolm C. Harrison: AUTHOR [+4]

Abstract

a In this report we describe a multiprocessor computer system which has been designed specifically to provide the computational facilities which are appropriate for instrumentation in a biomedical research laboratory. The processor management system, called AMPOS, provides task security without requiring complex memory protection hardware and software. The system is inexpensive, highly modular, and uses standard off-the-shelf microprocessor modules. The system does not rely on multiprogrammming, so programs, including those for handling input and output, can be written in any of the standard high-level languages. The system permits processors to be dedicated to i/o operations, so it can provide a response time of the order of 10 microseconds using standard microprocessor components. The inter-processor communication and command language f acilties are similar to those of the UNIX system.

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THIS DOCUMENT IS AN APPROXIMATE REPRESENTATION OF THE ORIGINAL.

THE AMPOS MULTIPROCESSOR SYSTEM "LA Computer System for Laboratory Use

*Rockefeller University

by Malcolm C. Harrison and Owen Smith*

Technical Report No. 80 July 1983

a"

41 , 0 S This work was supported in part by NIH contract RR-01089. Page 2

SUMMARY

a In this report we describe a multiprocessor computer system which has been designed specifically to provide the computational facilities which are appropriate for instrumentation in a biomedical research laboratory. The processor management system, called AMPOS, provides task security without requiring complex memory protection hardware and software. The system is inexpensive, highly modular, and uses standard off-the-shelf microprocessor modules. The system does not rely on multiprogrammming, so programs, including those for handling input and output, can be written in any of the standard high-level languages. The system permits processors to be dedicated to i/o operations, so it can provide a response time of the order of 10 microseconds using standard microprocessor components. The inter-processor communication and command language f acilties are similar to those of the UNIX system.

1.0 INTRODUCTION

Over the past two decades, increasing use has been made of computers in biomedical research laboratories [see, for example, references CM64, S64, BWS76, SKMS77]. In the last few years, increasingly sophisicated applications have required that a substantial fraction of the time needed to set up an experiment has been devoted to developement of the necessary hardware and software. Paradoxically, the enormous reduction in cost of computer hardware has added to this problem; the availability of low-cost processors has tempted experimenters into making much greater use of the power of computers. Unfortunately, most commercially available computer systems are not appropriate for the needs of a laboratory: in the extreme cases the user either makes use of a complex multiprogramming system, pays a price in response time, and is forced to build special-purpose hardware interfaces; or he programs in assembly language on a bare machine.

Recently, work at Rockefeller University and elsewhere has concentrated on making use of multiple processors to solve these problems. The system implemented by Silverman [SSL82, SH82], for example, used a number of 8085 microprocessors interfaced by a standard Multibus to provide the necessary throughput for neurophysi.ology experiments. Page 3

New York University Page 1 Dec 31, 1983

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THE AMPOS MULTIPROCESSOR SYSTEM "LA Computer System for Laboratory Use

The system described here is a general-purpose operating system using standard hardware components which provides an environment which facilitates implementation of such applications. It has the following major properties:

- it does not use interrupts or .multiprogramming; each processor executes one task.

- a simple operating system p...