|Founded||June 7, 1976|
|Founder||Dave W Poole|
|Defunct||April 19, 1989|
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. This project was named "Super-Foonly", and was developed by a team led by Phil Petit, Jack Holloway, and Dave Poole.
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.
But Dave Poole, with Phil Petit and Jack Holloway, preferred to found the Foonly Company in 1976, to try to build a series of computers based on the Super-Foonly project.
In 1983, after the cancellation of the 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.
List of models
|Power||5 kW @ 110/220V|
|Front-end||DEC PDP-10 KA-10|
|CPU||36-bit processor @ 11.1 MHz|
|Memory||Up to 18 MB (4096 x 36 bits)|
|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 F1
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, but using ECL gates rather than TTL, and without the extended instruction set. It was developed with the help of Triple-I, its first customer, and began operations in 1978.
The computer consisted of 4 cabinets :
- One for the CPU
- One AMPEX for the RAM, with 2MB of core memory
- A specific cabinet holding the Magic Movie Memory, a 3MB video buffer, used especially to render movie frames
- One cabinet with tape and disk controllers, and power switches.
It was able to reach 4.5 MIPS.
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.
Unlike the F1, the other models (F2, F3, F4, F5) were
- built with the slower TTL rather than ECL
- housed in a single cabinet, rather than four
- Disk drives: 1 - 6 units, with choices of 160 MB Winchester or 300 MB removable
- Tape drives: 1 - 4 units, with choices of 800, 1600 & 6250 BPI
- Lars Brinkhoff's table showing the F1 in perspective with other PDP-10 models
- Dave Sieg's notes and description of the F1
- The Foonly's entry, in The New Hacker's Dictionary, by Eric S. Raymond, Guy L. Steele
- The product line overview, Foonly brochure
- The Foonly F2 Brochure, 1981
- Corporates Wiki, Foonly entry
- The New Hacker's Dictionary, by Eric S. Raymond, Guy L. Steele
- Computing facilities for AI, 1981
- Foonly F2 Brochure, 1981
- Foonly Product Overview Brochure
- Dave Dayer, one of the F-1 designers, about Foonly
- The Foonly F1: The Computer Behind Tron (1982)
- Dave Dyer, one of the principals behind the F1, Dave Sieg website
- The Foonly F1, Dave Sieg website
- Moving Innovation : a History of Computer History, Tom Sito
- "The F2 - A New Flexible Alternative" (PDF).
- Tymshare (1981). The Tymshare XX Series Computer Family. p. 4.
- Tymshare's System XXVI. 1981.