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01 Feb 2000

The 645 Chip

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Eric Manning

I was Asst Prof (EE) & Ford Fellow at MIT in 65-66, salary partly paid by Multics money, had an office at 545 Tech Square (near Prof. Ted Glaser who designed the GIOC) & spent a lot of time trying to persuade Henry Lee at GE Phoenix to add very basic diagnostic features to the hardware (with zero success). So I moved to BTL & became a Multics/TSS 360 customer.

I almost got involved in an HIS proposal to build a GE 645 chip (circa 1984) but missed the meeting courtesy of US Immigration.

I had been consulting for HIS Canada on other things when the word came from HIS in Minneapolis that there would be a meeting in Minneapolis with Prof Corbató & various HIS folks, to discuss the possibility of a a desktop Multics system via a microprocessor arranged to execute the 6180 instruction set: Would I like to attend? Indeed I would. Interest aroused, I headed for Minneapolis but naively told the nice US Immigration official at Toronto airport that I would be paid for the trip. So he turned me back at the border as an undesirable alien (like Darth Vader). Evidently, the proposal didn't fly, and that's the end of an interesting "might-have-been " story. I still think it's an intriguing idea!

01 Feb 2000