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Manufacturer DEC - Digital Equipment Corporation Identification,ID PDP-6 Date of first manufacture 1964 Number produced 23* Estimated price or cost - location in museum - donor -
Contents of this page:
- Special Features
- Historical Notes
- This Specimen
- Interesting Web Sites
- Other information
36 bit word - sub set of later PDP-10
See Instruction List of PDP-10
From "Digital at Work" , Digital Press, copyright 1992, page 54
Specification - PDP-6 First shipped June 1964 Word length 36 bits Speed 0.25 MIPS Memory 18-bit physical address protection and relocation registers Instruction set 2's complement Input/Output I/O and memory bus Software FORTRAN compiler, text editor, a debugger(DDT),copy program called PIP (Peripheral Interchange Program), assembler History Designed for timesharing and real-time lab use, with straightforward interfacing capability, served as PDP-10 production prototype Price $120,000-$300,000The 36-Bit Family: The Courage to Invest in New Technology The first deliveries of the computer Digital called its "most dramatic" came even before the PDP-8, in the summer 1964. The PDP-6 was shipped to MIT's Project MAC (known variously as Multiple Access Computing and Machine Aid Cognition), the University of Western Australia, Brookhaven National Laboratory, and Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory.
PDP-6: A Personal Mainframe The PDP-6 originally was designed to extend the performance of Digital's 18-bit processor series, but several facto influenced the course of the new design.
First, 36 bits was the standard for scientific computing. This extended word length also accommodated LISP, a new language developed for work in artificial intelligence, still an active subject of university computing research. Finally, competing with IBM mainframes meant producing Digital's own 36-bit machines.
The PDP-6 was designed as a new kind of mainframe, to be used for both timesharing and real-time laboratory applications, with straightforward interfacing capability. It was the first of what might be called a "personal" mainframe. It also was the first commercial computer available with software for timesharing applications.
Although system sales were only 23, the PDP-6 had a much greater influence than its small number would suggest. Most were sold to universities, where a new generation of computer scientists was introduced to the idea of interactive, time-shared computing. Although compatibility was not a specified design goal, the series evolved into five basic designs over 18 years-PDP-6, KAl0, KIl0, KL10, and DECSYSTEM-20. ByJanuary of 1978 more than 700 systems would be installed.
The PDP-10 came next, followed by be DECsystem-10 and DECSYSTEN-20 series: large systems, all designed to give each user the illusion of having his own large computer. They offered economical cost per user via timesharing for commercial, scientific,and communication applications and eliminated the long wait for results associated with batch processing.
36-Bit Family Timeline 1964 PDP-6, Digital's first large,36-bit computer 1966 PDP-10 succeeds PDP-6 Model KA10, first Digital large system in production 1971 First DECsystem-10 1972 DECsystem-10 1ine offers unrivaled expansion K110 model offers high performance in scientific and real-time applications TOPS-10 operating system 1975 KL10 introduced as two new DECsystem-10 models, 1080 and 1090 1978 DECSYSTEM-20, aka 2040, lowest-priced commercial timesharing system DECsystem-1088, a dual 1080, most powerful Digital systems to date 1977 DECSYSTEM-2050 and full line of peripheral systems. TDPS-20 operating system 1980 DECSYSTEM-2020 released. Came with a KS processor that operated at 20% of the lowest-cost KL processor. 1983 Digital stops developing DECsystem-10 and DECSYSTEM-20 systems. Continues support by converting users to VAX-based solutions
Interesting Web Sites
If you have comments or suggestions, Send e-mail to Ed Thelen
Thanks to Joe Smith for numerous corrections to ORDed text.
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Updated August 15, 2004