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Cray X-MP Simulator Resurrects Piece of Computer History

timothy posted about a year ago | from the just-plain-cray-zee-ness! dept.

Virtualization 55

An anonymous reader writes "If you have a fascination with old supercomputers, like I do, this project might tickle your interest: A functional simulation of a Cray X-MP supercomputer, which can boot to its old batch operating system, called COS. It's complete with hard drive and tape simulation (no punch card readers, sorry) and consoles. Source code and binaries are available. You can also read about the journey that got me there, like recovering the OS image from a 30 year old hard drive or reverse-engineering CRAY machine code to understand undocumented tape drive operation and disk file-systems."

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First Post (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44114265)

Does it simulate frosty piss?

sdf (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44114269)

frist

Anonymous? (3, Funny)

Jmc23 (2353706) | about a year ago | (#44114281)

If you want to be anonymous, linking to your blog with your full name probably isn't the way to go!

Re:Anonymous? (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44114695)

Some of us have been long time readers but never felt the need to make an account.

Re:Anonymous? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44114875)

I am like you and but I have an account and can even remember the password. I have not logged in, in years. I picked up a stalker. He started following me around from discussion to discussion to talk about nuke power. Not my blog, but yeah if you are going to submit stories why not make an account and post under it though?

Re:Anonymous? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44115097)

Who cares about who you post as the NSA knows anyway.

I started to read this, but it's like every poorly written article now. I just can't take the overuse of exclamations, and childish writing.

Re:Anonymous? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44115917)

> I started to read this, but it's like every poorly written article now. I just can't take the overuse of exclamations, and childish writing.

In other words, you don't give a fuck about Cray's, simulations, or supercomputers, and were just looking to mentally masturbate for a while.

That's OK, though... you're a typical Slashdot reader.

Re:Anonymous? (1)

Darinbob (1142669) | about a year ago | (#44117195)

I've always thought of Anonymous Coward as having id #0...

Re:Anonymous? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44115371)

Let's hope Cray doesn't try to bill him for all the people who will now run pirated Cray games on the simulator.

games (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44115841)

No cray games existed...

Unless you include the ones trying to capture all the CPU time for your own job.

COS was a batch only system. One of its primary uses was simulation - but not real time.

Re:games (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44116493)

infocom ported their z interpreter to cray unix and sold some of their games. I played HHGTTG on UNM's cray in the early 80s while my pops simulated the universe.

You are in a maze of twisty little passages ... (1)

djl4570 (801529) | about a year ago | (#44116679)

There had to be a port of Advent for the Cray.

Where is the power load? (1)

hamjudo (64140) | about a year ago | (#44114367)

For the complete simulation, you need to use a generator load tester to burn the 100 or so kilowatts that the machine used.

simple load (1)

swschrad (312009) | about a year ago | (#44114739)

using 2 inch copper bars, connect to a bridge with stainless steel bolts and lockwashers. use anti-oxide paste....

Re:simple load (1)

hamjudo (64140) | about a year ago | (#44119087)

You need a 3 phase load. That is going to take some careful bolt placement to get the 3 phases matched.

Remind me never to visit your neighborhood.

Cool. Hey waitaminute! (2)

Chas (5144) | about a year ago | (#44114403)

No punchcard readers? OMGWTFBBQ!!111eleventy

LAME!

This would have been a whole lot easier (4, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44114443)

if SGI wouldn't have deliberately destroyed all the old documentation and software when they bought Cray.

Re:This would have been a whole lot easier (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44115093)

Not to mention that it would be a whole lot easier to preserve the equivalent SGI mainframes via simulation and emulation if SGI would actually release their old internal documentation on the systems' chipsets. It's not like they're even making MIPS boxes anymore...

Re:This would have been a whole lot easier (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44115361)

Believe it or not, they actually destroyed most of their own internal documentation as well. Wankers.

Re:This would have been a whole lot easier (2)

charlesr44403 (1504587) | about a year ago | (#44115851)

suit&tie mentality: if we can't make big $$$$$ from it any more, burn it.

Critical Component (2)

Sponge Bath (413667) | about a year ago | (#44114449)

The plush toy in the photo makes the computations go faster.

Re:Critical Component (2)

emag (4640) | about a year ago | (#44114599)

Opus the Penguin [wikipedia.org] is a critical part of the entire X-MP era. So, yes, the computations go faster.

Re:Critical Component (1)

RevWaldo (1186281) | about a year ago | (#44114935)

No Oliver Wendell Jones dolls available....

http://img217.imageshack.us/img217/2167/owj.gif

.

Re:Critical Component (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44114611)

That's not just a plush toy. That's Opus.

Cray (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44114777)

that shit cray

Also IBM 360 and TI 990 emulators (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44114831)

There are a bunch of other old computer emulators around such as the IBM 360/370/380/390 http://www.hercules-390.eu/ on which you can run OS\360, MVS and some other IBM OSes http://www.ibiblio.org/jmaynard/

Also the TI990 minicomputer with the DX10 OS here http://www.cozx.com/~dpitts/ti990.html

It is great that people are preserving these things so that programmers of the future will have a chance to experience how things were in the early days. When you see the limitations that programmers had to work with, it is more understandable why they did things the way that they did.

Re:Also IBM 360 and TI 990 emulators (3, Informative)

mendax (114116) | about a year ago | (#44115447)

A favorite is an emulation of another of Seymour Cray's earlier designs, the Control Data 6000 series monsters from 1964 and its successors the Cybers [iinet.net.au] , complete with screen shots [iinet.net.au] of its then innovative console. I'd love to have this running on my iMac. I still have a copy of the old MIT Adventure game in FORTRAN for these beasts from my college days I wish I could play again. I'm too lazy to try to port it over to something else or get it to compile in a more modern FORTRAN compiler. However, the emulator does not include a copy of the NOS 2 dead start tape.

Re:Also IBM 360 and TI 990 emulators (1)

Peter Simpson (112887) | about a year ago | (#44115703)

Control Data 6000 series monsters from 1964 and its successors the Cybers [iinet.net.au] , complete with screen shots [iinet.net.au] of its then innovative console.

I had to take a semester of assembly language at college. The choice was a PDP-11 in the CS lab (sign up, lowest priority for time => late nights and weekends) or one section that would learn CDC6600 (Cyber 74) assembly. Guess which one I picked? :-) I have totally forgotten all I learned, but it sure was fun while I was doing it!

// eyes, lunar lander and baseball game on the dual vector displays

Re:Also IBM 360 and TI 990 emulators (2)

Bing Tsher E (943915) | about a year ago | (#44117163)

The MIT adventure game is on just about any freenix machine. It's part of the 'BSD Games' package on Slackware (at least it was on the last version I used) and is a default part of the system on NetBSD (the 'adventure' program in /usr/games). It would be a little silly to re-port it yet another time.

Don't forget to pick up the lamp before typing 'xyzzy'

can I run it on my cellphone? (3, Funny)

peter303 (12292) | about a year ago | (#44114927)

and would it be faster than the original?

Re: can I run it on my cellphone? (4, Informative)

EGSonikku (519478) | about a year ago | (#44115637)

Considering the original Cray XMP ran at 105MHz and had 16MB RAM, yes. But in 1982, those specs were just wildly insane.

Re: can I run it on my cellphone? (2)

Rich0 (548339) | about a year ago | (#44115831)

The 105MHz is a bit deceptive in that this thing probably had much higher memory/IO/etc bandwidth and vector capability compared to a traditional desktop of that era running at that speed.

I'm sure it still isn't that hard to emulate today, but the performance of the Cray shouldn't be dismissed out of hand with the clock speed.

Re: can I run it on my cellphone? (2)

Impy the Impiuos Imp (442658) | about a year ago | (#44116129)

Ya this was vector design, which was a massive pipeline thing, akin to an assembly line with stages. The ends, and overhead were no great shakes, but once it churned on a long batch of numbers, boom!

The question is valid though. IIRC, in the late 90s, high-end PCs were about equal to the first Cray.

Re: can I run it on my cellphone? (1)

Jeremy Erwin (2054) | about a year ago | (#44116537)

The 105MHz is a bit deceptive in that this thing probably had much higher memory/IO/etc bandwidth and vector capability compared to a traditional desktop of that era running at that speed.

According to this popular mechanics article from 1982 [modernmechanix.com] the top 6 home computers were the IBM PC, the TSR-80, the Apple II, the Atari 800, the Commodore PET, and the TI 99/4a. The IBM PC ran at 4.77 MHz. If I recall correctly , "wait states" also played an important role-- something that Cray would have avoided.

Then again, personal computers were designed to be affordable. Minicomputers, workstations and mainframes were quite a bit faster.

Re: can I run it on my cellphone? (1)

metaforest (685350) | about a year ago | (#44129329)

The Cray XMP-48 had up to 1 GB of RAM. That RAM subsystem was bigger than the CPU core. Apple had one back in the early 90's
250K watts 230 tons including its cooling system. IT was fed data and storage from a herd of VAX 11/780s with wash-tub sized HD units. The residential neighbors to that building had lots of complaints about lights dimming when that machine started burning midnight oil.

Opus (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44115123)

The soft toy suggests the image comes from Australia. Don't ask I just know!

Sweet! (4, Funny)

Nidi62 (1525137) | about a year ago | (#44115397)

Now I can sequence that old dinosaur DNA I got from this chunk of amber sitting in my closet!

Re:Sweet! (1)

MrNemesis (587188) | about a year ago | (#44117715)

Joke I know, but couldn't resist a geek nitpick: weren't the supercomputers in Jurassic Park Thinking Machines what with all their awesomely photogenic blinkenlights?

IIRC they used a Cray (XMP? YMP?) in Sneakers. I remember Ben Kingsley making a big deal of sitting on a red one, so I think it's a YMP. Still one of my favourite "Hollywood Hacking" movies as it bears a passing resemblance to reality.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Thinking_Machines_Corporation [wikipedia.org]
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cray_Y-MP [wikipedia.org]

Re:Sweet! (1)

Nidi62 (1525137) | about a year ago | (#44117781)

Joke I know, but couldn't resist a geek nitpick: weren't the supercomputers in Jurassic Park Thinking Machines what with all their awesomely photogenic blinkenlights?

You are correct in regards to the movie, but the book specifically states that they used 2 Cray XMPs to run the Hood sequencers. Trust, I am currently rereading the book :)

Re:Sweet! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44117897)

Joke I know, but couldn't resist a geek nitpick: weren't the supercomputers in Jurassic Park Thinking Machines what with all their awesomely photogenic blinkenlights?

IIRC they used a Cray (XMP? YMP?) in Sneakers. I remember Ben Kingsley making a big deal of sitting on a red one, so I think it's a YMP. Still one of my favourite "Hollywood Hacking" movies as it bears a passing resemblance to reality.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Thinking_Machines_Corporation [wikipedia.org]
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cray_Y-MP [wikipedia.org]

Cray XMP in the book

Re:Sweet! (1)

Burdell (228580) | about a year ago | (#44118119)

The color of a Cray doesn't tell you the model; you could get them in different colors. NASA's were "NASA blue" for example.

If you think you're a real geek, read the fine A (2)

Bearhouse (1034238) | about a year ago | (#44115499)

You will probably realise you're not even close. This is truly nerdy, and I love it.
Stuff like this makes putting up with all the daily bitcoin etc crap worthwhile.
Thanks!

Re:If you think you're a real geek, read the fine (1)

kermidge (2221646) | about a year ago | (#44119211)

From the article, "I’ll only leave some of the most spectacular failures in for entertainment value."

Beautiful. Reminds me of a test pilot of yore at Edwards, "In spite of all the damn fool things I did, the plane managed to land itself."

A truly nerdy project done by a true nerd. Bravo.

Re:If you think you're a real geek, read the fine (1)

Bearhouse (1034238) | about a year ago | (#44125519)

Nice quote

Awesome! (1)

Peter Simpson (112887) | about a year ago | (#44115539)

I hope he sends a copy to the Computer History Museum. They already have an operational Babbage Difference Engine and a PDP-1. A Cray would be very neat. For extra credit, he needs to find the SE Test Pack...that should have all kinds of neat code on it.

Re:Awesome! (1)

crgrace (220738) | about a year ago | (#44118091)

The Computer History Museum already has a few Crays (including the mythic Cray 3), but it would be cool if they could add this emulator to their library.

Re:Awesome! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44119235)

There weren't very many Cray-3's around; IIRC, IIRC serial #7 was the last, and I don't think anything prior to serial #4 had more than one CPU. They clocked at ~480MHz, and had IIRC 512 MW (8 byte words) per octant (two CPUs). "Guaranteed-not-to-be-exceeded speed" handling vectors was one memory read, one memory write, one local memory operation, and 3 arithmetic operations per clock, if you could manage to schedule them.

There are/were a couple of Cray-4 modules around, but AFAIK, they never got past basic instruction issue (the functional units were not functional so far as I am aware). They clocked at around 1 GHz.

Aww, man, come on! (1)

johnwfran (250231) | about a year ago | (#44116941)

Can't anyone cough up some disk images for this guy, or are copyright issues the crux of the matter? Admittedly, even though it doesn't do much other than boot up, it is still so very cool.

John Francis

are copyright issues the crux of the matter? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44118669)

No, there are no copies left that anyone is willing to admit to having.
People have been trying to find Cray 1 series software for over five years now, and that one disk pack is all that is known to have survived.

Hardware (1)

SnarfQuest (469614) | about a year ago | (#44117687)

Has anyone built their own Cray in hardware? There are a lot of logic arrays available that should make it a piece of cake.
You can use an old sofa for the case.

Re:Hardware (0)

Jeremy Erwin (2054) | about a year ago | (#44118575)

Are you a weaver by trade [digibarn.com] ?

Re:Hardware (1)

Jeremy Erwin (2054) | about a year ago | (#44139279)

I fail to see why a picture of the cray-1s internals is off topic. Cray computer hired weavers and other practitioners of textile arts to actually assemble the thing. Honestly-- [digibarn.com] should have been a major clue.

Has anyone built their own Cray in hardware? (1)

Al Kossow (460144) | about a year ago | (#44118683)

Yes, that was where the disk pack came from; someone trying to build a Cray 1 in an FPGA.

Ingress (1)

Archangel Michael (180766) | about a year ago | (#44118137)

I saw X-MP and immediately thought they had a Cray simulate an XMP burst, and I rushed to open the article and read all about the latest #ingress news.

Now I realize ... I have no life!

I had a chance of purchasing a Cray. (2)

Trax3001BBS (2368736) | about a year ago | (#44119165)

This area produced Plutonium for nuclear weapons; supplying the fuel for the Trinity and Fat Man atomic bombs.
Plutonium production continued up to the late 1980's (or until Chernobyl); for peaceful purposes of course.

The Hanford project as it was called; long as I can remember they had a small museum explaining the project.
When they moved it from the recreational area (original location) to the the Federal Building a few Cray computers were added and used
as seating areas. A small sign near them saying they were Crays but just circular seating if anybody needed to rest.

I had a friend who programed the Cray's, sometimes he would call just to chat; but it could be a problem. He would always be near the cooling system
so his phone had a receiver cut off button. He'd say something then hit the button so the cooling system wasn't heard in the back ground making
a conversation possible. I don't know if he called on his rounds or he was located next to the coolers, but they were loud.

At one of the Government auctions I had a chance to bid on and even of purchased a Cray, but it would be spendy as junk goes.
An old Univac system was once auctioned (I thought about bidding on it - it would of taken up the entire house and a good part of the yard :} )
never met it's lowest bid due to the precious metals involved.

A Cray computer in my house, I imagine I'd of used it as a dysfunctional couch as well, but a hell of a conversation piece.

I had a storage shed that was the wooden box shipped box for some multi million computer, lots of great stuff could be scavenged in this area while D.O.E.
was spending money.

*Many key words were used here, Hello again NSA.*

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