IEEE Computer Volume 11 Number 6 -- NEW PRODUCTS
Original Publication Date: 1978-Jun-01
Included in the Prior Art Database: 2005-Nov-10
Software Patent Institute
True Seaborn: AUTHOR [+3]
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Microprocessor-based minicomputer runs IBM 370 software
The first minicomputer capable of operating from the large existing base of IBM 370 software will begin delivery to OEM's and systems houses this summer. The plug- compatible CPU is the conception of Dr. Jared A. Anderson and his associates at Two Pi Corp., Sunnyvale, Calif., recently acquired by US Philips Corp.
Designated the Two Pi/V32, the 32bit minicomputer was made technically feasible by the latest commercially available LSI technology, particularly bitslice microprocessors and 16K RAMs. Bit- slice technology was necessary to achieve the same execution speed as the IBM machines. The 24 microprocessors designed into the V32 are formed from Advanced Micro Devices bipolar 2901, which has a microinstruction execution time of 100 nanoseconds. Execution time was enhanced by using a microprocessor to control each of the eight l/O channels, relieving the processing units of this burden.
Some 150 IBM assembly-language operations were emulated by microprograms developed by Two Pi personnel. The microprogramming approach makes the new computer modifiable to include new or unique features that individual users need.
Acknowledging that the IBM 370 software is not written in the latest and presumably most effective languages, Dr. Anderson pointed out that "more pro. "rammers understand the IBM 370 than any other computer ever built and more software exists for that series of machines than all other computers put together." That's why it made sense to him to apply the latestntechnology to this vast storehouse.
The result, intended primarily for commercial data processing, is especially well suited to distributed data processing because of its compatibility with the 370. The Two Pi/V32 operates in the same performance class as the IBM 370/138, but has four times the main memory capacity. It operates in full virtual mode. It uses standard IBM peripherals.
For next year Anderson promised a range of controllers for competitive minicomputer peripherals, such as small disk and tape drives. At that point he expects about a 2:1 price advantage over IBM.
IBM macrodiagnostics can be used to check system performance. In addition, Two Pi will supply microdiagnostics to check its own machine, isolating problems to the card level.
The basic system includes 256K bytes of main storage, expandable to four megabytes. Other features are ability to execute the S/370 universal instruction set, byteoriented operand feature, basic and extended control modes. extended precisi...