Relic Information query matches

Matching on query: Unique id = 11/97, Name = any, Associated machine = any, class = any

Unique id/year of acquisition: 11/97
Name: Ring monitor station
Ring monitor station
Dimensions: 213x161x72
Class: network
Machine: Ring
DW: Around 1968 the Lab developed an inter-communication ring through the Laboratory. Essentially information flowed round twisted-pair wires and all stations were in series. There was one special station which is the monitor station which set up a pattern which allows packets to be transmitted or received at individual stations. The packets were quite small - they held two bytes. The main purpose was not to provide rapid speed but to provide inter-communication between printers, computers etc for which speed didn't matter particularly. The monitor station was used to set up - it also kept continual check on the ring to make sure that it was working properly and it also gathered some statistics. It was an essential part of the ring but there was only one of the these and it allowed design changes to be incorporated here rather than in every individual station so it did give us some flexbility.
Q: Who was behind the design of the ring in the laboratory?
DW: Maurice Wilkes initiated it - I with Norman Unwin designed it and there were two versions - the first version we threw out not because it didn't work but because the next was rather simpler and would work better under failure modes. The second version was made by units of this size, by then small scale integrated circuits were used and I think there were about maybe 50 such integrated circuits in. The power supplies were designed by Unwin and it was interesting that the power for every station on the ring came from one source along the same lines which took the signals, so they were independent of the mains in any particular position.
Q:Was this produced locally in Cambridge?
DW: Yes, it was. The early ones were hand-wired. I believe some were sent out to an automatic wiring machine for specification, but basically they were produced in the Lab. And this was a later version.
Correction from Martyn Johnson: this is not actually a monitor station; it is merely the repeater that was used at the monitor station position. I think it was different from the others in some way; though I can't remember in what respect.
See also: 41/97
See also: 48/97
See also: 110/99

Number of matches = 1 Copyright University of Cambridge Computer Laboratory, 1999. All rights reserved.