Last updated
PDP-11 wordmark.svg
A PDP-11/40 CPU is at the bottom, with a TU56 dual DECtape drive installed above it.
Developer Digital Equipment Corporation
Product family Programmed Data Processor
Type Minicomputer
Release date1970;53 years ago (1970)
Discontinued1997;26 years ago (1997)
Units soldaround 600,000
Operating system BATCH-11/DOS-11, DSM-11, IAS, P/OS, RSTS/E, RSX-11, RT-11, Ultrix-11, Seventh Edition Unix, SVR1, 2BSD
Platform DEC 16-bit
Successor VAX-11

The PDP-11 is a series of 16-bit minicomputers sold by Digital Equipment Corporation (DEC) from 1970 into the 1990s, one of a set of products in the Programmed Data Processor (PDP) series. In total, around 600,000 PDP-11s of all models were sold, making it one of DEC's most successful product lines. The PDP-11 is considered by some experts to be the most popular minicomputer. [1] [2]


The PDP-11 included a number of innovative features in its instruction set and additional general-purpose registers that made it much easier to program than earlier models in the PDP series. Further, the innovative Unibus system allowed external devices to be easily interfaced to the system using direct memory access, opening the system to a wide variety of peripherals. The PDP-11 replaced the PDP-8 in many real-time computing applications, although both product lines lived in parallel for more than 10 years. The ease of programming of the PDP-11 made it very popular for general-purpose computing uses also.

The design of the PDP-11 inspired the design of late-1970s microprocessors including the Intel x86 [1] and the Motorola 68000. The design features of PDP-11 operating systems, and other operating systems from Digital Equipment, influenced the design of operating systems such as CP/M and hence also MS-DOS. The first officially named version of Unix ran on the PDP-11/20 in 1970. It is commonly stated that the C programming language took advantage of several low-level PDP-11–dependent programming features, [3] albeit not originally by design. [4]

An effort to expand the PDP-11 from 16 to 32-bit addressing led to the VAX-11 design, which took part of its name from the PDP-11.


Previous machines

In 1963, DEC introduced what is considered to be the first commercial minicomputer in the form of the PDP-5. This was a 12-bit design adapted from the 1962 LINC machine that was intended to be used in a lab setting. DEC slightly simplified the LINC system and instruction set, aiming the PDP-5 at smaller settings that did not need the power of their larger 18-bit PDP-4. The PDP-5 was a success, ultimately selling about 1,000 machines. This led to the PDP-8, a further cost-reduced 12-bit model that was even more successful, selling about 50,000 units.

During this period, the computer market was moving from computer word lengths based on units of 6 bits to units of 8 bits, following the introduction of the 7-bit ASCII standard. In 1967–1968, DEC engineers designed a 16-bit machine, the PDP-X, [5] but management ultimately canceled the project as it did not appear to offer a significant advantage over their existing 12- and 18-bit platforms.

This prompted several of the engineers from the PDP-X program to leave DEC and form Data General. The next year they introduced the 16-bit Data General Nova. [6] The Nova was a major success, selling tens of thousands of units and launching what would become one of DEC's major competitors through the 1970s and 1980s.


Ken Olsen was more interested in a small 8-bit machine than the larger 16-bit system. This became the "Desk Calculator" project. Not long after, Datamation published a note about a desk calculator being developed at DEC, which caused concern at Wang Laboratories, who were heavily invested in that market. Before long, it became clear that the entire market was moving to 16-bit, and the Desk Calculator began a 16-bit design as well. [7]

The team decided that the best approach to a new architecture would be to minimize the memory bandwidth needed to execute the instructions. Larry McGowan coded up a series of assembly language programs using the instruction sets of various existing platforms and examined how much memory would be exchanged to execute them. Harold McFarland joined the effort and had already written a very complex instruction set that the team rejected, but a second one was simpler and would ultimately form the basis for the PDP-11. [7]

When they first presented the new architecture, the managers were dismayed. It lacked immediate data and short addresses, both of which were considered essential to improving memory performance. McGowan and McFarland were eventually able to convince them that the system would work as expected, and suddenly "the Desk Calculator project got hot". [7] Much of the system was developed using a PDP-10 where the SIM-11 simulated what would become the PDP-11/20 and Bob Bowers wrote an assembler for it. [7]

One late change was that the marketing team wanted to ship the minimal configuration with 2 K of memory, [lower-alpha 1] but when McGowan stated this would mean an assembler could not run on it the minimum was expanded to 4 K. They also wanted to use the forward slash character for comments in the assembler code, like the PDP-8, but McGowan stated that he would then have to use semicolon for division and that was dropped. [7]

The PDP-11 family was announced in January 1970 and shipments began early that year. DEC sold over 170,000 PDP-11s in the 1970s. [8]

Initially manufactured of small-scale transistor–transistor logic, a single-board large scale integration version of the processor was developed in 1975. A two-or-three-chip processor, the J-11 was developed in 1979.

The last models of the PDP-11 line were the PDP-11/94 and PDP-11/93 introduced in 1990. [9]

Innovative features

Instruction set orthogonality

The PDP-11 processor architecture has a mostly orthogonal instruction set. For example, instead of instructions such as load and store, the PDP-11 has a move instruction for which either operand (source and destination) can be memory or register. There are no specific input or output instructions; the PDP-11 uses memory-mapped I/O and so the same move instruction is used; orthogonality even enables moving data directly from an input device to an output device. More complex instructions such as add likewise can have memory, register, input, or output as source or destination.

Most operands can apply any of eight addressing modes to eight registers. The addressing modes provide register, immediate, absolute, relative, deferred (indirect), and indexed addressing, and can specify autoincrementation and autodecrementation of a register by one (byte instructions) or two (word instructions). Use of relative addressing lets a machine-language program be position-independent.

No dedicated I/O instructions

Early models of the PDP-11 had no dedicated bus for input/output, but only a system bus called the Unibus, as input and output devices were mapped to memory addresses.

An input/output device determined the memory addresses to which it would respond, and specified its own interrupt vector and interrupt priority. This flexible framework provided by the processor architecture made it unusually easy to invent new bus devices, including devices to control hardware that had not been contemplated when the processor was originally designed. DEC openly published the basic Unibus specifications, even offering prototyping bus interface circuit boards, and encouraging customers to develop their own Unibus-compatible hardware.

The Unibus made the PDP-11 suitable for custom peripherals. One of the predecessors of Alcatel-Lucent, the Bell Telephone Manufacturing Company, developed the BTMC DPS-1500 packet-switching (X.25) network and used PDP-11s in the regional and national network management system, with the Unibus directly connected to the DPS-1500 hardware.

Higher-performance members of the PDP-11 family departed from the single-bus approach. The PDP-11/45 had a dedicated data path within the CPU, connecting semiconductor memory to the processor, with core memory and I/O devices connected via the Unibus. [10] In the PDP-11/70, this was taken a step further, with the addition of a dedicated interface between disks and tapes and memory, via the Massbus. Although input/output devices continued to be mapped into memory addresses, some additional programming was necessary to set up the added bus interfaces.


The PDP-11 supports hardware interrupts at four priority levels. Interrupts are serviced by software service routines, which could specify whether they themselves could be interrupted (achieving interrupt nesting). The event that causes the interrupt is indicated by the device itself, as it informs the processor of the address of its own interrupt vector.

Interrupt vectors are blocks of two 16-bit words in low kernel address space (which normally corresponded to low physical memory) between 0 and 776. The first word of the interrupt vector contains the address of the interrupt service routine and the second word the value to be loaded into the PSW (priority level) on entry to the service routine.

The article on PDP-11 architecture provides more details on interrupts.

Designed for mass production

The PDP-11 was designed for ease of manufacture by semiskilled labor. The dimensions of its pieces were relatively non-critical. It used a wire-wrapped backplane.


PDP-11/03 (top right) PDP-11 (459312210).jpg
PDP-11/03 (top right)

The LSI-11 (PDP-11/03), introduced in February 1975 [9] is the first PDP-11 model produced using large-scale integration; the entire CPU is contained on four LSI chips made by Western Digital (the MCP-1600 chip set; a fifth chip can be added to extend the instruction set). It uses a bus which is a close variant of the Unibus called the LSI Bus or Q-Bus; it differs from the Unibus primarily in that addresses and data are multiplexed onto a shared set of wires rather than having separate sets of wires. It also differs slightly in how it addresses I/O devices and it eventually allowed a 22-bit physical address (whereas the Unibus only allows an 18-bit physical address) and block-mode operations for significantly improved bandwidth (which the Unibus does not support).

The CPU microcode includes a debugger: firmware with a direct serial interface (RS-232 or current loop) to a terminal. This lets the operator do debugging by typing commands and reading octal numbers, rather than operating switches and reading lights, the typical debugging method at the time. The operator can thus examine and modify the computer's registers, memory, and input/output devices, diagnosing and perhaps correcting failures in software and peripherals (unless a failure disables the microcode itself). The operator can also specify which disk to boot from. Both innovations increased the reliability and decreased the cost of the LSI-11.

A Writable Control Store (WCS) option (KUV11-AA) could be added to the LSI-11. This option allowed programming of the internal 8-bit micromachine to create application-specific extensions to the PDP-11 instruction set. The WCS is a quad Q-Bus board with a ribbon cable connecting to the third microcode ROM socket. The source code for EIS/FIS microcode was included so these instructions, normally located in the third MICROM, could be loaded in the WCS, if desired. [11]

Later Q-Bus based systems such as the LSI-11/23, /73, and /83 are based upon chip sets designed in house by Digital Equipment Corporation. Later PDP-11 Unibus systems were designed to use similar Q-Bus processor cards, using a Unibus adapter to support existing Unibus peripherals, sometimes with a special memory bus for improved speed.

There were other significant innovations in the Q-Bus lineup. For example, a system variant of the PDP-11/03 introduced full system power-on self-test (POST).


The basic design of the PDP-11 was flexible, and was continually updated to use newer technologies. However, the limited throughput of the Unibus and Q-Bus started to become a system-performance bottleneck, and the 16-bit logical address limitation hampered the development of larger software applications. The article on PDP-11 architecture describes the hardware and software techniques used to work around address-space limitations.

DEC's 32-bit successor to the PDP-11, the VAX (for "Virtual Address eXtension") overcame the 16-bit limitation, but was initially a superminicomputer aimed at the high-end time-sharing market. The early VAX CPUs provided a PDP-11 compatibility mode under which much existing software could be immediately used, in parallel with newer 32-bit software, but this capability was dropped with the first MicroVAX.

For a decade, the PDP-11 was the smallest system that could run Unix, [12] but in the 1980s, the IBM PC and its clones largely took over the small computer market; BYTE in 1984 reported that the PC's Intel 8088 microprocessor could outperform the PDP-11/23 when running Unix. [13] Newer microprocessors such as the Motorola 68000 (1979) and Intel 80386 (1985) also included 32-bit logical addressing. The 68000 in particular facilitated the emergence of a market of increasingly powerful scientific and technical workstations that would often run Unix variants. These included the HP 9000 series 200 (starting with the HP 9826A in 1981) and 300/400, with the HP-UX system being ported to the 68000 in 1984; Sun Microsystems workstations running SunOS, starting with the Sun-1 in 1982; Apollo/Domain workstations starting with the DN100 in 1981 running Domain/OS, which was proprietary but offered a degree of Unix compatibility; and the Silicon Graphics IRIS range, which developed into Unix-based workstations by 1985 (IRIS 2000).

Personal computers based on the 68000 like the Apple Lisa and Macintosh or the Commodore Amiga arguably constituted less of a threat to DEC's business, although technically these systems could also run Unix derivatives. In the early years, in particular, Microsoft's Xenix was ported to systems like the TRS-80 Model 16 (with up to 1 MB of memory) in 1983, and to the Apple Lisa, with up to 2 MB of installed RAM, in 1984. The mass-production of those chips eliminated any cost advantage for the 16-bit PDP-11. A line of personal computers based on the PDP-11, the DEC Professional series, failed commercially, along with other non-PDP-11 PC offerings from DEC.

In 1994, DEC [14] sold the PDP-11 system-software rights to Mentec Inc., an Irish producer of LSI-11 based boards for Q-Bus and ISA architecture personal computers, and in 1997 discontinued PDP-11 production. For several years, Mentec produced new PDP-11 processors. Other companies found a niche market for replacements for legacy PDP-11 processors, disk subsystems, etc. At the same time, free implementations of Unix for the PC based on BSD or Linux became available.

By the late 1990s, not only DEC but most of the New England computer industry which had been built around minicomputers similar to the PDP-11 collapsed in the face of microcomputer-based workstations and servers.


The PDP-11 processors tend to fall into several natural groups depending on the original design upon which they are based and which I/O bus they use. Within each group, most models were offered in two versions, one intended for OEMs and one intended for end-users. Although all models share the same instruction set, later models added new instructions and interpreted certain instructions slightly differently. As the architecture evolved, there were also variations in handling of some processor status and control registers.

Unibus models

Original PDP-11/20 front panel Digital PDP11-IMG 1498 cropped.jpg
Original PDP-11/20 front panel
Original PDP-11/70 front panel Pdp-11-70-panel.jpg
Original PDP-11/70 front panel
Later PDP-11/70 with disks and tape PDP-11-70-DDS570.jpg
Later PDP-11/70 with disks and tape

The following models use the Unibus as their principal bus:

Q-bus models

PDP-11/03, cover removed to show the CPU board, with memory board beneath (two of the CPU chipset's four 40-pin packages have been removed, and the optional FPU is also missing) DEC LSI11-23.jpg
PDP-11/03, cover removed to show the CPU board, with memory board beneath (two of the CPU chipset's four 40-pin packages have been removed, and the optional FPU is also missing)

The following models use the Q-Bus as their principal bus:

Models without standard bus

The PDT-11/150 smart terminal system had two 8-inch floppy disc drives DEC-PDT-11-150.jpg
The PDT-11/150 smart terminal system had two 8-inch floppy disc drives

The PDT series were desktop systems marketed as "smart terminals". The /110 and /130 were housed in a VT100 terminal enclosure. The /150 was housed in a table-top unit which included two 8-inch floppy drives, three asynchronous serial ports, one printer port, one modem port and one synchronous serial port and required an external terminal. All three employed the same chipset as used on the LSI-11/03 and LSI-11/2 in four "microm"s. There is an option which combines two of the microms into one dual carrier, freeing one socket for an EIS/FIS chip. The /150 in combination with a VT105 terminal was also sold as MiniMINC, a budget version of the MINC-11.

The DEC Professional series are desktop PCs intended to compete with IBM's earlier 8088 and 80286 based personal computers. The models are equipped with 514 inch floppy disk drives and hard disks, except the 325 which has no hard disk. The original operating system was P/OS, which was essentially RSX-11M+ with a menu system on top. As the design was intended to avoid software exchange with existing PDP-11 models, the poor market response was unsurprising. The RT-11 operating system was eventually ported to the PRO series. A port of RSTS/E to the PRO series was also done internal to DEC, but it was not released. The PRO-325 and -350 units are based on the DCF-11 ("Fonz") chipset, the same as found in the 11/23, 11/23+ and 11/24. The PRO-380 is based on the DCJ-11 ("Jaws") chipset, the same as found in the 11/53,73,83 and others, though running only at 10 MHz because of limitations in the support chipset.

Models that were planned but never introduced

Special-purpose versions

DEC GT40 running Moonlander GT40 Lunar Lander.jpg
DEC GT40 running Moonlander
MINC-23 laboratory computer DEC-MINC-23.jpg
MINC-23 laboratory computer

This Unimation robot arm controller used DEC LSI-11 series hardware Unimation controller internals.jpg
This Unimation robot arm controller used DEC LSI-11 series hardware

Unlicensed clones

The PDP-11 was sufficiently popular that many unlicensed PDP-11-compatible minicomputers and microcomputers were produced in Eastern Bloc countries. Some were pin-compatible with the PDP-11 and could use its peripherals and system software. These include:

Operating systems

Several operating systems were available for the PDP-11

From Digital

From third parties


The DECSA communications server was a communications platform developed by DEC based on a PDP-11/24, with the provision for user installable I/O cards including asynchronous and synchronous modules. [41] This product was used as one of the earliest commercial platforms upon which networking products could be built, including X.25 gateways, SNA gateways, routers, and terminal servers.

Ethernet adaptors, such as the DEQNA Q-Bus card, were also available.

Many of the earliest systems on the ARPANET were PDP-11's


The DEC TU10 9-track tape drive was also offered on other DEC computer series DEC TU10 tape drive.jpg
The DEC TU10 9-track tape drive was also offered on other DEC computer series

A wide range of peripherals were available; some of them were also used in other DEC systems like the PDP-8 or PDP-10. The following are some of the more common PDP-11 peripherals.


The PDP-11 family of computers was used for many purposes. It was used as a standard minicomputer for general-purpose computing, such as timesharing, scientific, educational, medical, or business computing. Another common application was real-time process control and factory automation.

Some OEM models were also frequently used as embedded systems to control complex systems like traffic-light systems, medical systems, numerical controlled machining, or for network-management. An example of such use of PDP-11s was the management of the packet switched network Datanet 1. In the 1980s, the UK's air traffic control radar processing was conducted on a PDP 11/34 system known as PRDS – Processed Radar Display System at RAF West Drayton.[ citation needed ] The software for the Therac-25 medical linear particle accelerator also ran on a 32K PDP 11/23. [42] In 2013, it was reported that PDP-11 programmers would be needed to control nuclear power plants through 2050. [43]

Another use was for storage of test programs for Teradyne ATE equipment, in a system known as the TSD (Test System Director). As such, they were in use until their software was rendered inoperable by the Year 2000 problem. The US Navy used a PDP-11/34 to control its Multi-station Spatial Disorientation Device, a simulator used in pilot training, until 2007, when it was replaced by a PC-based emulator that could run the original PDP-11 software and interface with custom Unibus controller cards. [44]

A PDP-11/45 was used for the experiment that discovered the J/ψ meson at the Brookhaven National Laboratory. [45] In 1976, Samuel C. C. Ting received the Nobel Prize for this discovery.



Ersatz-11, a product of D Bit, [46] emulates the PDP-11 instruction set running under DOS, OS/2, Windows, Linux or bare metal (no OS). It can be used to run RSTS or other PDP-11 operating systems.


SimH is an emulator that compiles and runs on a number of platforms (including Linux) and supports hardware emulation for the DEC PDP-1, PDP-8, PDP-10, PDP-11, VAX, AltairZ80, several IBM mainframes, and other minicomputers. Hardware kits are available that emulate a PDP-11 front panel, using SimH as the PDP-11 implementation

See also


Explanatory citations

  1. It is not clear in the document whether this is 2k bytes or 2k words - 4k in modern terms.


  1. 1 2 Supnik, Bob (August 31, 2004). "Simulators: Virtual Machines of the Past (and Future)". ACM Queue. 2 (5): 52–58. doi:10.1145/1016998.1017002. S2CID   20078751.
  2. Rose, Frank (1985). Into the Heart of the Mind: An American Quest for Artificial Intelligence. p. 37. ISBN   9780394741031.
  3. Bakyo, John. "DEC PDP-11, benchmark for the first 16/32 bit generation. (1970)" in Great Microprocessors of the Past and Present (V 13.4.0), Section Three, Part I. Accessed 2011-03-04
  4. "The Development of the C Language" in section More History, by Dennis M. Ritchie. Accessed August 5, 2011.
  5. "PDP-X memoranda". bitsavers.org.
  6. "Oral History of Edson (Ed) D. de Castro" (PDF). Retrieved April 28, 2020.
  7. 1 2 3 4 5 McGowan, Larry (19 August 1998). "How the PDP-11 Was Born" . Retrieved 2015-01-22.
  8. Paul Cerruzi, A History of Modern Computing, MIT Press, 2003, ISBN   0-262-53203-4, page 199
  9. 1 2 "16-bit Timeline". microsoft.com. Retrieved November 8, 2016.
  10. PDP-11/45 Processor Handbook (PDF). Digital Equipment Corporation. 1973. p. 15.
  11. LSI-11 WCS user's guide (PDF) (1st ed.). Digital Equipment Corporation. June 1978. Retrieved 7 January 2023.
  12. 1 2 Fiedler, Ryan (October 1983). "The Unix Tutorial / Part 3: Unix in the Microcomputer Marketplace". BYTE. p. 132. Retrieved 30 January 2015.
  13. 1 2 Hinnant, David F. (Aug 1984). "Benchmarking UNIX Systems". BYTE. pp. 132–135, 400–409. Retrieved 23 February 2016.
  14. "Press/Digital and Mentec Announce PDP-11 Software Agreement". Newsgroup:  biz.digital.announce. June 29, 1994. Retrieved September 25, 2020.
  15. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 "The PDP-11 FAQ". Village.org. 2000-04-18. Archived from the original on 2016-06-18. Retrieved 2014-04-14.
  16. "PDP-11 Price List (1969)" (PDF).
  17. 1 2 Ritchie, Dennis M. (22 June 2002). "Odd Comments and Strange Doings in Unix". Bell Labs.
  18. 1 2 3 4 "Computer History Wiki".
  19. "Time-Sharing Uses Emphasized for DEC Datasystem 350 Series". Computerworld. IX (31): 19. July 30, 1975. Retrieved November 4, 2022. All DEC Datasystem 350 models have PDP-11/10 CPUs
  20. "TSX-Plus: Time Share RT-11". Hardcopy. October 1982. p. 9.
  21. "Development Project Report" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 2016-04-12. Retrieved 2014-04-14.
  22. Bruce Mitchell; Brian S. McCarthy (2005). "Multiprocessor FAQ". Machine Intelligence. Retrieved August 20, 2019.[ permanent dead link ]
  23. Don North (February 7, 2006). "Original 11/74 front panel". cctech (Mailing list). Archived from the original on July 18, 2011.
  24. 1 2 "GT40/GT42 user's guide" (PDF). February 1975. p. 29.
  25. "Digital MINC-11". Binary Dinosaurs. Retrieved 2014-04-14.
  26. 1 2 HSC Controller Installation Manual (PDF). Digital Equipment Corporation. July 1991. p. 4-28. EK-HSCMN-IN-002.
  27. VAX 8500/8550 System Hardware User's Guide. Digital Equipment Corporation. 1986. pp. 1–8.
  28. TPA-1140,
  29. Ákos Varga. "TPA-1148". Hampage.hu. Retrieved 2014-04-14.
  30. Ákos Varga. "TPA-11/440". Hampage.hu. Retrieved 2014-04-14.
  31. "CalData_brochure" (PDF). Retrieved 2014-04-14.
  32. Ion Glodeanu (coord.), Oscar Hoffman, Doina Dragomirescu (2003). Actorii sociali ai promovării tehnologiilor, informaţiei şi comunicaţiilor (in Romanian). Editura Mica Valahie. p. 122. ISBN   978-973-85884-4-8 . Retrieved 2014-04-14.{{cite book}}: CS1 maint: multiple names: authors list (link)
  33. "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2014-02-23. Retrieved 2014-02-13.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  34. "Systime sets 80386 S-series box, 100-user Unix System". Computergram International. Computer Business Review. 1 February 1987.
  35. Fagan, Mary (24 September 1987). "Who will tear the Silicon Curtain?". New Scientist. pp. 28–29.
  36. "CAPS-11 User's Guide" (PDF). Digital Equipment Corporation. 1973. Retrieved 2021-01-26.
  37. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 "The PDP-11 FAQ". Village.org. 2000-04-18. Archived from the original on 2015-03-21. Retrieved 2014-04-14.
  38. TRAX - The Complete On-Line Transaction Processing System (PDF). Digital Equipment Corporation.
  39. Brinch Hansen, Per (1976), The Solo Operating System: A Concurrent Pascal Program (PDF), retrieved 22 June 2011
  40. "The History of Unix". BYTE. August 1983. p. 188. Retrieved 31 January 2015.
  41. "Communications Options Minireference Manual, Volume 5, Ethernet Devices (Part 1)" (PDF). Digital Equipment Corporation. August 1988. p. DECSA-1. EK-CMIV5-RM-005.
  42. Leveson, Nancy G., and Clark S. Turner. "An Investigation of the Therac-25 Accidents." Computer July 1993: 18-41.
  43. Richard Chirgwin (June 19, 2013). "Nuke plants to rely on PDP-11 code UNTIL 2050: Programmers and their walking sticks converge in Canada" . Retrieved June 19, 2013.
  44. Claremont, Bruce (February 2008). "PDP-11 Replacement Keeps the Navy's MSDD Spinning" (PDF). Retrieved October 15, 2017.
  45. Aubert, J.J.; et al. (November 1974). "Experimental Observation of a Heavy Particle J".
  46. "D Bit Ersatz-11 PDP-11 emulator".

Related Research Articles

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Digital Equipment Corporation</span> U.S. computer manufacturer 1957–1998

Digital Equipment Corporation, using the trademark Digital, was a major American company in the computer industry from the 1960s to the 1990s. The company was co-founded by Ken Olsen and Harlan Anderson in 1957. Olsen was president until forced to resign in 1992, after the company had gone into precipitous decline.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Minicomputer</span> Mid-1960s–late-1980s class of smaller computers

A minicomputer, or colloquially mini, is a class of smaller general purpose computers that developed in the mid-1960s and sold at a much lower price than mainframe and mid-size computers from IBM and its direct competitors. In a 1970 survey, The New York Times suggested a consensus definition of a minicomputer as a machine costing less than US$25,000, with an input-output device such as a teleprinter and at least four thousand words of memory, that is capable of running programs in a higher level language, such as Fortran or BASIC.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">PDP-10</span> 36-bit computer by Digital (1966–1983)

Digital Equipment Corporation (DEC)'s PDP-10, later marketed as the DECsystem-10, is a mainframe computer family manufactured beginning in 1966 and discontinued in 1983. 1970s models and beyond were marketed under the DECsystem-10 name, especially as the TOPS-10 operating system became widely used.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Programmed Data Processor</span> Name used for several lines of minicomputers

Programmed Data Processor (PDP), referred to by some customers, media and authors as "Programmable Data Processor," is a term used by the Digital Equipment Corporation from 1957 to 1990 for several lines of minicomputers.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">VAX</span> Line of computers sold by Digital Equipment Corporation

VAX is a series of computers featuring a 32-bit instruction set architecture (ISA) and virtual memory that was developed and sold by Digital Equipment Corporation (DEC) in the late 20th century. The VAX-11/780, introduced October 25, 1977, was the first of a range of popular and influential computers implementing the VAX ISA. The VAX family was a huge success for DEC – over 100 models were introduced over the lifetime of the design, with the last members arriving in the early 1990s. The VAX was succeeded by the DEC Alpha, which included several features from VAX machines to make porting from the VAX easier.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">VT100</span> Computer terminal from Digital Equipment Corporation

The VT100 is a video terminal, introduced in August 1978 by Digital Equipment Corporation (DEC). It was one of the first terminals to support ANSI escape codes for cursor control and other tasks, and added a number of extended codes for special features like controlling the status lights on the keyboard. This led to rapid uptake of the ANSI standard, which became the de facto standard for hardware video terminals and later terminal emulators.

RT-11 is a discontinued small, low-end, single-user real-time operating system for the full line of Digital Equipment Corporation PDP-11 16-bit computers. RT-11 was first implemented in 1970. It was widely used for real-time computing systems, process control, and data acquisition across all PDP-11s. It was also used for low-cost general-use computing.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">History of computing hardware (1960s–present)</span> Aspect of history

The history of computing hardware starting at 1960 is marked by the conversion from vacuum tube to solid-state devices such as transistors and then integrated circuit (IC) chips. Around 1953 to 1959, discrete transistors started being considered sufficiently reliable and economical that they made further vacuum tube computers uncompetitive. Metal-oxide-semiconductor (MOS) large-scale integration (LSI) technology subsequently led to the development of semiconductor memory in the mid-to-late 1960s and then the microprocessor in the early 1970s. This led to primary computer memory moving away from magnetic-core memory devices to solid-state static and dynamic semiconductor memory, which greatly reduced the cost, size, and power consumption of computers. These advances led to the miniaturized personal computer (PC) in the 1970s, starting with home computers and desktop computers, followed by laptops and then mobile computers over the next several decades.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">RSTS/E</span> Computer operating system

RSTS is a multi-user time-sharing operating system developed by Digital Equipment Corporation for the PDP-11 series of 16-bit minicomputers. The first version of RSTS was implemented in 1970 by DEC software engineers that developed the TSS-8 time-sharing operating system for the PDP-8. The last version of RSTS was released in September 1992. RSTS-11 and RSTS/E are usually referred to just as "RSTS" and this article will generally use the shorter form. RSTS-11 supports the BASIC programming language, an extended version called BASIC-PLUS, developed under contract by Evans Griffiths & Hart of Boston,. Starting with RSTS/E version 5B, DEC added support for additional programming languages by emulating the execution environment of the RT-11 and RSX-11 operating systems.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Unibus</span> Computer bus

The Unibus was the earliest of several computer bus and backplane designs used with PDP-11 and early VAX systems manufactured by the Digital Equipment Corporation (DEC) of Maynard, Massachusetts. The Unibus was developed around 1969 by Gordon Bell and student Harold McFarland while at Carnegie Mellon University.

The Q-bus, also known as the LSI-11 Bus, is one of several bus technologies used with PDP and MicroVAX computer systems previously manufactured by the Digital Equipment Corporation of Maynard, Massachusetts.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">DEC Professional (computer)</span>

The Professional 325 (PRO-325), Professional 350 (PRO-350), and Professional 380 (PRO-380) are PDP-11 compatible microcomputers introduced in 1982 by Digital Equipment Corporation (DEC) as high-end competitors to the IBM PC.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">AMD Am2900</span>

Am2900 is a family of integrated circuits (ICs) created in 1975 by Advanced Micro Devices (AMD). They were constructed with bipolar devices, in a bit-slice topology, and were designed to be used as modular components each representing a different aspect of a computer control unit (CCU). By using the bit slicing technique, the Am2900 family was able to implement a CCU with data, addresses, and instructions to be any multiple of 4 bits by multiplying the number of ICs. One major problem with this modular technique was that it required a larger number of ICs to implement what could be done on a single CPU IC. The Am2901 chip was the arithmetic logic unit (ALU), and the "core" of the series. It could count using 4 bits and implement binary operations as well as various bit-shifting operations.

The Massbus is a high-performance computer input/output bus designed in the 1970s by Digital Equipment Corporation (DEC). The architecture development was sponsored by Gordon Bell and John Levy was the principal architect.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">VAX-11</span> Family of minicomputers by Digital Equipment Corporation

The VAX-11 is a discontinued family of 32-bit superminicomputers, running the Virtual Address eXtension (VAX) instruction set architecture (ISA), developed and manufactured by Digital Equipment Corporation (DEC). Development began in 1976. In addition to being powerful machines in their own right, they also offer the additional ability to run user mode PDP-11 code, offering an upward compatible path for existing customers.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">74181</span> First arithmetic logic unit (ALU) on a single chip

The 74181 is a 4-bit slice arithmetic logic unit (ALU), implemented as a 7400 series TTL integrated circuit. The first complete ALU on a single chip, it was used as the arithmetic/logic core in the CPUs of many historically significant minicomputers and other devices.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">VAX 8000</span> Discontinued family of superminicomputers

The VAX 8000 is a discontinued family of superminicomputers developed and manufactured by Digital Equipment Corporation (DEC) using processors implementing the VAX instruction set architecture (ISA).

The VAX 9000 is a discontinued family of mainframes developed and manufactured by Digital Equipment Corporation (DEC) using custom ECL-based processors implementing the VAX instruction set architecture (ISA). Equipped with optional vector processors, they were marketed into the supercomputer space as well. As with other VAX systems, they were sold with either the VMS or Ultrix operating systems.

The PDP-11 architecture is a CISC instruction set architecture (ISA) developed by Digital Equipment Corporation (DEC). It is implemented by central processing units (CPUs) and microprocessors used in PDP-11 minicomputers. It was in wide use during the 1970s, but was eventually overshadowed by the more powerful VAX-11 architecture in the 1980s.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">DEC GT40</span>

DEC GT40 is a VT11 vector graphic terminal produced by the Digital Equipment Corporation, first introduced in October, 1972.


Further reading