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11

In that era you couldn't afford to build the raster displays that we have now. The RAM for the frame buffer would have been far too expensive. Vector displays were common, even though they had disadvantages - at engineering time you had to make a fixed-for-all-time choice between how long of a vector you could write vs. the persistence time of the phosphor....


10

From the MIT AI Lab file .INFO.; LISP ARCHIV for Maclisp updates: 3/1/69 JONL THE CURRENT VERSION OF LISP, "LISP 102", HAS THE FOLLOWING AS-YET UNDOCUMENTED FEATURES: 1)"DEFUN" IS AN FSUBR USED TO DEFINE FUNCTIONS. EXAMPLES ARE (DEFUN ONECONS (X) (CONS 1 X)) WHICH IS EQUIVALENT TO (DEFPROP ONECONS (LAMBDA (X) (CONS ...


9

I believe this is the best place for PDP-1X documentation: http://bitsavers.trailing-edge.com/pdf/mit/rle_pdp1/ (Linking to a mirror because the main bitsavers.org is offline for the moment.) The 1975 memo PDP35, part 5A documents spheres and capabilities: A virtual memory space, any virtual processors (processes) that might be executing inside that ...


5

Just what was it used for? The answer is in the name - to display graphics It doesn't make much sense to produce a list of application, but lets look at the core issue of having a screen at all: There were no of-the-shelf graphic terminals - or (CRT-based) terminals - at all. A terminal was a card punch, a tape punch (and their counterparts) or a typing ...


3

The defun macro is just syntactic sugar for define plus lambda. InterLisp (1970) doesn't seem to have it either, so your MacLisp example is either the first, or pretty close to being the first.


3

The PDP-1 was priced to be sold to a lab and was relatively easy to interface to. This means that it could be used for processing and displaying data from a variety of equipment such as mass spectrometers and so on. It was also used by ITEK for one of the very early CAD systems in 1964, the Electronic Drafting Machine (PDF warning). It could also be used as ...


1

The PDP-1 was designed as an unofficial successor to the MIT Lincoln Labs TX-0, which also had a similar display. On the TX-0 this had been used for interactive debugging as well as graphical display of the results of experiments (eg an early machine learning experiment that simulated the way a mouse learns to navigate a maze); it is likely that these ...


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