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The CM-2a is the low-end machine in the CM-2x line. Imagine a single 'cube'
sliced-off from the CM-200 'hypercube' - that's a CM-2a. Could be configured
with up to 8192 CPUs (!).
My system came from the Institute of Marine and Coastal Sciences, Rutgers University.
A single translucent black cube...
...if that doesn't qualify as 'sexiest computer of all time' I don't know what does!
OK OK it needs dusting... All the interfaces live on the lower rear...
From left to right:
Power on/off and cover up/down keyswitches (yes, there's a little motor which raises the perspex cover to reveal the boards!)
Front-end interface - Connection Machines are essentially enormous co-processors; they do nothing without a front-end workstation. Sun, VAX, or Symbolics LISP.
RGB connectors for the integrated Display Buffer - for visualisation of results.
Two connectors for Data Vault - an optional external hard disk array which can buffer the data for the computations.
Power connector - 220V, 1-phase - a supercomputer you can run at home! (and I intend to! :-)
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. I don't believe there are *any* other CM-2a machines in captivity. If you know otherwise, please email me!
http://www.sscnet.ucla.edu/geog/gessler/collections/ ...Nicholas Gessler has a couple of CM-2s.
http://tinyurl.com/kauy This appalling URL, which I have shortened, gives some good background on Connection Machines.
http://mission.base.com/tamiko/cm/ The striking design of the Connection Machine was the work of the wonderful Tamiko Thiel
http://www.inc.com/magazine/19950915/2622.html A fascinating article chronically the rise & fall of Thinking Machine Corporation, the company that produced Connection Machines.
http://ed-thelen.org/comp-hist/vs-cm-1-2-5.html The Computer History Museum have three Connection Machines...
http://g-lenerz.de/sgistuff/movies/jpark.html ...and a CM-5 starred in 'Jurassic Park'!