Concept

CDC STAR-100

Résumé
The CDC STAR-100 is a vector supercomputer that was designed, manufactured, and marketed by Control Data Corporation (CDC). It was one of the first machines to use a vector processor to improve performance on appropriate scientific applications. It was also the first supercomputer to use integrated circuits and the first to be equipped with one million words of computer memory. STAR is a blend of STrings (of binary digits) and ARrays. The 100 alludes to the nominal peak processing speed of 100 million floating point operations per second (MFLOPS); the earlier CDC 7600 provided peak performance of 36 MFLOPS but more typically ran at around 10 MFLOPS. The design was part of a bid made to Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory (LLNL) in the mid-1960s. Livermore was looking for a partner who would build a much faster machine on their own budget and then lease the resulting design to the lab. It was announced publicly in the early 1970s, and on 17 August 1971, CDC announced that General Motors had placed the first commercial order for it. A number of basic design features of the machine meant that its real-world performance was much lower than expected when first used commercially in 1974, and was one of the primary reasons CDC was pushed from its former dominance in the supercomputer market when the Cray-1 was announced in 1975. Only three STAR-100 systems were delivered, two to LLNL and another to NASA Langley Research Center. The STAR had a 64-bit architecture, consisting of 195 instructions. Its main innovation was the inclusion of 65 vector instructions for vector processing. The operations performed by these instructions were strongly influenced by concepts and operators from the APL programming language; in particular, the concept of "control vectors" (vector masks in modern terminology), and several instructions for vector permutation with control vectors, were carried over directly from APL. The vector instructions operated on vectors that were stored in consecutive locations in main memory; memory addressing was virtual.
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