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Corestore Collection - Connection Machine CM-200

The CM-200 was the successor to the CM-1 / CM-2 machines... a theoretical maximum configuration would consist of 65536 1-bit CPUs(!). The advance on previous models was the provision of one Weitek floating-point unit for every 32 1-bit CPUs, and an increase in memory capacity. This machine is equiped with 16,384 CPUs.

My system is (hopefully) coming from the Institute of Marine and Coastal Sciences, Rutgers University. it was donated to them by the Naval Research Laboratory, who originally paid $2.4m for it! Why 'hopefully'? They seem to have mislaid it... it was supposed to be kept for me to collect, but no-one is quite sure exactly where it is right now...!

Since it's rather difficult to envisage what the complete system looks like from the following photographs, we'll start with an image from the Connection Machine brochure which shows what a wonderful beast this is:

A cube composed of 8 cubes (the CM-2a consists of one of these cubes; each cube contains up to 8096 processors). The curved structure on the right is a Data Vault - a disk array.

Since space at Rutgers was limited, and they only had a 16,384 CPU configuration, they had a two-cube system - the other six 'cubes' which make up a complete rack were stored elsewhere on-site.

One 'corner' of the complete cube...

Slide back the cover and inside... the CPU boards and vast numbers of blinkenlights - 43 per board!

Moving round the side, some of the wiring and the core 'frame' of the complete 8-way 'cube' structure can be seen.

Backplane and interconnect ribbon cables.

The complete rack: heavy black cables are front-end interface; if you have any such cables spare please email me! Other connectors are for visualisation display and Data Vault.

There are very very few Connection Machines in any kind of museum - I believe CHAC has one, I have heard William Donzelli has one, that's about it. ...Nicholas Gessler has a couple of CM-2s. This appalling URL, which I have shortened, gives some good background on Connection Machines. The striking design of the Connection Machine was the work of the wonderful Tamiko Thiel A fascinating article chronically the rise & fall of Thinking Machine Corporation, the company that produced Connection Machines. The Computer History Museum have three Connection Machines... ...and a CM-5 starred in 'Jurassic Park'!