"I have a mind like a steel... uh... thingy." Patrick Logan's weblog.

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Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Weird Computing in Portland

Portland, Oregon has an interesting (and forgotten?) history in concurrent computing. Remember these companies/products?

Not to mention Sequent or Intel's work here on the i432 and the more practical i960.

These were all "weird" for one reason or another back in a time when almost anything new in hardware or software could be considered weird, and almost everything *was* new. I didn't work in any of these companies (well, Intel, later) but I knew at least one person in each of them.

People used to get together at the (weird) Oregon Graduate Center or the Cedar Hills McMenamins or wherever and talk about all these things, not as being weird, just as being the things that were happening around the west side of Portland and Beaverton. The "Silicon Forest".

"Weird" stuff went on in software too. See "The Gem–Stone data management system". I worked with five of the eight authors a decade ago (almost a decade after this paper, which itself was almost a decade after the start of the company, which included several of those authors), and the really interesting thing is, I think all five are still with (one of them "back at") Gemstone.

Now *that* is weird.

1 comment:

junklight said...

I have never seen it mentioned anywhere but back in the mid 90's the i960 was used on the Engine Control Unit for the Williams F1 racing car. The box used to run at 60 degrees C and sitting on the desk would crash if it wasn't cooled by a fan or something.

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Portland, Oregon, United States
I'm usually writing from my favorite location on the planet, the pacific northwest of the u.s. I write for myself only and unless otherwise specified my posts here should not be taken as representing an official position of my employer. Contact me at my gee mail account, username patrickdlogan.