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Ken Shirriff Unfolds a Nuclear Missile Steering Pc with Spectacular Memory


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Ken Shirriff Unfolds a Nuclear Missile Steering Pc with Spectacular Memory

Longtime followers of [Ken Shirriff’s] work are accustomed to say asking “Where does he get such wonderful toys?”. This time around he’s laid bare the guidance computer from a Titan missile. To be specific, this is the computer that would have been found in the Titan II, an intercontinental ballistic missile that you may remember…

Ken Shirriff Unfolds a Nuclear Missile Steering Pc with Spectacular Memory

Longtime followers of [Ken Shirriff’s] work are accustomed to speak asking “Where does he fetch such very excellent toys?”. This time around he’s laid bare the steering computer from a Titan missile. To be particular, here is the computer that could were display conceal in the Titan II, an intercontinental ballistic missile that you just have to presumably merely undergo in ideas as a key portion of the predicament of the traditional film WarGames. Yeah, these siloed nukes.

Amazingly these computer programs had been aloof of all digital common sense, no centralized controller chip on this child. That explains the need for the seven circuit boards which host a legion of common sense chips, all slotting into a backplane.

Nonetheless it’s not the common sense that’s ideas-blowing, it’s the memory. These dark rectangles on practically every board in the image on the cease of the article are impressively-dense patches of magnetic core memory. That fanout is one amongst two core memory modules which will be display conceal on this computer. With twelve plates per module (each hosting two bits) plus a parity bit on a further plate, phrases had been aloof of 25-bits and the computer’s two memory modules could store a total of 16okay phrases.

This is 1970’s tech and it’s amazing to deem that when associated to the accelerometers and gyros that made up the IMU this may maybe well exercise tiresome reckoning to mosey to the diversified aspect of the globe. As repeatedly, [Ken] has done an implausible job of walking via all parts of the hardware for the interval of his teardown. He even entails the contextual parts of his analysis by sharing vital components of this moment in ancient past shut to the cease of his article.

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In disclose so that you just can geek out somewhat bit more about memory storage of yore, you will doubtless be in a situation to fetch a take care of on core, drum, extend lines, and more in Al Williams’ primer.

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