For the fun of it, I asked ChatGPT what it knows about Transputers and actually that saved me a lot of typing 😉
“Transputers were a type of microprocessor developed in the 1980s by a British company called Inmos. They were designed to be used in parallel computing systems and were capable of communicating with each other via a high-speed bus. This allowed multiple transputers to work together in a network, allowing for the creation of powerful parallel processing systems. The transputer was also designed to be small, cheap, and low-power, making it well-suited for use in embedded systems. The transputer was used in a variety of applications, including image processing, control systems, and scientific simulations. Despite the potential of the transputer, it ultimately failed to achieve widespread commercial success and Inmos was eventually acquired by SGS-Thomson Microelectronics.”
I’m not going into all the nitty-gritty details of this CPU – there are other pages which have done that very, very good:
- Transputer.net – Mike Brüstle is the most active Transputer tinkerer right now. Features cool hardware projects, self written drivers and a constantly growing number of carefully prepared PDF conversions of the original Inmos documents.
- Gavin Crates wonderful Transputer Emulator is the rescue for all of you not having the real-thing at hand yet.
- Ram Meenakshisundaram‘s page. The basecamp of all Transputer expeditions. The biggest repository of links, hardware description & software – sadly it seems Ram stopped working on it…
- Wikipedia -The facts in a short form.
I think my first contact with transputers were the announcement of the Atari Transputer Workstation (aka ATW or ABAQ). I was able to catch a glimpse in a “behind the scene” room on Ataris booth at CeBit ’88. It looked like an ATARI PC-3, having an Atari-ST slabbed to another mainboard and featured the Motiv GUI on a huge screen … and the estimated price was way beyond my budget (20.000 German Marks). Hey, I found a piccy:
But now those wonderful chips are available at reasonable prices (compared to 1992 when a T800 was ~800DM)… which start to go up again as people seem to rediscover them.
For an cheap & easy entry into the world of transputers see my AVM B1 article.
Just browse the Hardware/Transputer submenu on top of this page for all the different Transputer systems discussed here on geekdot.
Also make sure to check the Working with Transputers posts as well as visiting the ever growing TRAMs section in my knowledge base (menu).
If you like to pose a question or are just up for a chat, why not join the Transputer Forum of GeekDot?