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Foonly


Foonly Inc. was an American computer company formed by Dave Poole[2] in 1976[4], that produced a series of DEC PDP-10 compatible computers, named Foonly F-1 to Foonly F-5[5].

Foonly, Inc.
Private
Fate Dissolved
Founded June 7, 1976; 42 years ago (1976-06-07)[1]
Founder Dave W Poole[2]
Defunct April 19, 1989 (1989-04-19)[1]
Headquarters Mountain View, California[3], United States
Products Supercomputers
Computer hardware
Computer software

The first and most famous Foonly machine, the F1, was the computer used by Triple-I to create some of the computer-generated imagery in the 1982 film Tron[2].

Contents

HistoryEdit

At the beginning of the 1970s, the Stanford Artificial Intelligence Laboratory (SAIL) began to study the building of a new supercomputer to replace their DEC PDP-10 KA-10, by a far more powerful machine, with a funding of the DARPA[2]. This project was named "Super-Foonly", and was developed by a team led by Phil Petit, Jack Holloway, and Dave Poole[2][6].
In 1974, the DARPA cut the funding, and a large part of the team went to DEC to develop the PDP-10 model KL10, based on the Super-Foonly project[2].

But Dave Poole, with Phil Petit and Jack Holloway, preferred to found the Foonly Company in 1976[4], to try to build a series of computers based on the Super-Foonly project.

During the early 1980s, after the releasing of their first and only F1 supercomputer, Foonly built and sold some F2, F4 and F5 low cost DEC PDP-10 compatibles machines[4][2][5].

In 1983, after the cancellation of the DEC Jupiter Project, Foonly tried to propose a new Foonly F1, but it was eclipsed by the SC Group company and their Mars project, and the company never quite recovered[2].

ComputersEdit

List of modelsEdit

Foonly F1
Design
Manufacturer Foonly Inc.
Designer Dave Poole[2]
Release date 1978[4]
Units sold 1[2]
Price $700,000[5]
Casing
Weight -
Power 5 kW[5] @ 110/220V
System
Front-end DEC PDP-10 KA-10
Operating system FOONEX[5]
CPU 36-bit processor @ 11.1 MHz[5]
Memory Up to 18 MB (4096 x 36 bits)[5]
MIPS 4.5 MIPS[5]

Model MIPS Word Size Frequency Memory Price !bays Power
Foonly F1 4.5 MIPS 36 bits 11.1 MHz 18 MB $700 000 4 5 KW
Foonly F2 0.5 MIPS 36 bits 2.8 MHz 4.5 MB $150 000 1 0.5 KW
Foonly F4 1.4 MIPS 36 bits 8 MHz 9 MB $300 000 1 1 KW
Foonly F4B 1.8 MIPS 36 bits 8 MHz 9 MB $350 000 1 1.5 KW
Foonly F5 0.3 MIPS 36 bits 3.3 MHz 2.25 MB $80 000 0.5 0.8 KW

The Foonly F1Edit

The Foonly F1 was the first and most powerful Foonly supercomputer, but also the only one being built of its kind. It was based on the Super Foonly project designs, aimed to be the fastest DEC PDP-10 compatible[2], but using ECL gates rather than TTL, and without the extended instruction set[7][8]. It was developed with the help of Triple-I, its first customer, and began operations in 1978[4].

The computer consisted of 4 cabinets :

  • One for the CPU
  • One AMPEX for the RAM, with 2MB of core memory[9]
  • A specific cabinet holding the Magic Movie Memory, a 3MB video buffer, used especially to render movie frames[9]
  • One cabinet with tape and disk controllers, and power switches.

It was able to reach 4.5 MIPS[5].

The F1 is mostly famous to have been the computer behind some of the Computer-generated imagery of the Disney 1982 Tron movie, but also behind Looker (1981), when it was at Triple-I,

After that, the computer was bought by the Canadian Omnibus Computer Graphics company, and was used on some movies, such as TV logos for CBC, CTV, and Global Television Network channels, opening titles for the show Hockey Night in Canada, Star Trek III: The Search for Spock (1984), Flight of the Navigator (1986), Captain Power and the Soldiers of the Future TV series (1987), and Marilyn Monrobot[10].

External linksEdit

ReferencesEdit