Betriebssysteme · Institut für Systemarchitektur · Fakultät Informatik · TU Dresden

12. 07. 2013

Transputer Architecture and Occam - the Fascination of early, true Parallel Computing Anno 1983

Uwe Mielke


The Transputer and its Programming Language Occam have been developed by INMOS together with the University of Oxford from 1980 onwards as European Solution to overcome all the obvious disadvantages of the sequential programmed, rapidly growing U.S. dominated micro computing landscape. Hoare's theory of "Communicating sequential Processes" provided a stable framework for Occam and the Transputer Architecture, which immediately allowed full scalable parallel computing and was far ahead of its time. Quite fast the TRAMs (Transputer Standard Modules) have found their way especially into the embedded control market (robotics), scientific applications (FFT) and high parallel super computing, where common microprocessors quickly bounced on their limits. But finally "Moore's Law" was the winner in history and the Transputer, missing its Redesign, disappeared silently from the market until the year 2000. Nevertheless the idea of the Transputer and its ease of parallel use by serial Links, influenced generations of electronic and computer engineers as well software and IP designs. The principles of CSP are still alive in today's "Blue Gene" as MPI, and Transputer Link hardware survived as IEEE-1355 into Spacewire, Firewire and more. This lecture will give - beside history - a brief introduction about easy parallel programming with Occam ... and how the Occam process model was directly implemented into the Transputer's Microcode.

Slides: PDF

12. Mar 2018
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