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A PDP-10 1090

A series of large, 36-bit mainframe-like systems built by DEC; they were basically a re-implementation of the earlier PDP-6 architecture, whose engineering had been a failure. (The machines were so similar at the programming level that PDP-6 code could run on a PDP-10.)

DEC sold 4 different generations of PDP-10 processors: the KA10, the KI10, the KL10, and the KS10. The first three were marketed as the DECsystem-10, running the TOPS-10 operating system; the third was also sold as the DECSYSTEM-20, running TOPS-20. (The varying capitalization was the result of a trademark infringment suit.)

Two other very important operating systems also ran on PDP-10's: MIT's ITS (a very advanced system, from whence came EMACS, and much more besides), and TENEX, which DEC later turned into TOPS-20.

PDP-10 ad

PDP-10s were very important machines on the early Internet, being one of the few (relatively!) cheaply available machines which could run a full NCP and later TCP/IP stack as a multi-user environment at the time.

They still have a large following today. There are several goodsimulators available, notably SIMH and KLH10.

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