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Hardware a group of enthusiasts have made a full replica of the PDP-10 PC using modern hardware

Krvavi Abadas

Mr. Archivist

Oscar Vermeulen, a Dutch economist and lifelong computer collector, wanted to build a single replica of a PDP-8 minicomputer, a machine he had been obsessed with since childhood. “I had a Commodore 64 and proudly showed it to a friend of my father’s,” he says. “He just sniffed and said the Commodore was a toy. A real computer was a PDP, specifically a PDP-8. So I started looking for discarded PDP-8 computers, but never found one. They are collectors’ items now, extremely expensive and almost always broken. So I decided to make a replica for myself.”

Why? Why go to all this trouble? First, there’s the historical importance. Built from 1959 to the early 1970s, the PDP machines were groundbreaking. Not only were they much cheaper than the giant mainframes used by the military and large corporations, they were designed as multipurpose, fully interactive machines. You didn’t have to produce programs on punch cards which were then handed to the IT department, who would run them through the computer, which provided a print-out, which you’d debug maybe a day later. With the PDPs, you could type directly into the computer and test the results immediately.
These factors led to an extraordinary burst of experimentation. Most modern programming languages, including C, began on DEC machines; a PDP-10 was the centre of the MIT AI Lab, the room in which the term artificial intelligence was invented. “PDP-10 computers dominated Arpanet, which was the forerunner of Internet,” says Lars Brinkhoff. “Internet protocols were prototyped on PDP-10s, PDP-11s and other computers. The GNU project was inspired by the free sharing of software and information on the PDP-10. Stephen Hawking’s artificial voice came from a DECtalk device, which came from Dennis Klatt’s voice-synthesis research begun on a PDP-9.”
finalized units have existed for a few months, but the project(s) recently got mainstream news coverage. which is the source for that quote.
buying one of these is a bit pricy at $370, but the files & source code used for it's software (there's a Raspberry Pi inside the unit, though plans are being considered to make an FPGA version.) are on github. so you can theoretically make your own if you know what you're doing.

more notably. a replica of the PDP-1 is also in development, which is the computer that Spacewar (one of the earliest video games) was originally released on in 1962.

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