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Rekursiv was a computer processor designed by David M. Harland in the mid-1980s for Linn Smart Computing in Glasgow, Scotland. It was one of the few computer architectures intended to implement object-oriented concepts directly in hardware, a form of high-level language computer architecture. The Rekursiv operated directly on objects rather than bits, nibbles, bytes and words. Virtual memory was used as a persistent object store and unusually, the processor instruction set supported recursion (hence the name).

The project originated in an initiative within the hi-fi manufacturer Linn Products to improve its manufacturing automation systems, which at the time ran on a DEC VAX minicomputer. This resulted in the design of Lingo, an object-oriented programming language derived from Smalltalk and ALGOL. Due to the poor performance of Lingo on the VAX, a subsidiary company, Linn Smart Computing Ltd., was formed to develop a new processor to efficiently run Lingo.

The Rekursiv processor consisted of four gate-array chips named Numerik (32-bit ALU), Logik (instruction sequencer), Objekt (object-oriented memory management unit) and Klock (processor clock and support logic). A small number of prototype VMEbus boards, called Hades, comprising these four chips plus 80 MB of RAM were produced. These were intended for installation in a host system such as a Sun-3 workstation.

Although the Rekursiv was never fully developed and was not a commercial success, several Hades boards were used in academic research projects in the UK. The last known copy of a Rekursiv computer ended up at the bottom of the Forth and Clyde canal in Glasgow.[citation needed]


Further reading[edit]

  • Harland, David M. (August 1988). Rekursiv: Object-Oriented Computer Architecture (Ellis Horwood Series in Computers and Their Applications). Ellis Horwood Ltd. ISBN 0-13-771965-5. 
  • Baines, Rupert (March 1990). "Taking RISCs". Personal Computer World. 13 (3): 136–140. 
  • Pountain, D. (1988). "Rekursiv: an object-oriented CPU". BYTE. 13 (12): 341–349. 
  • Harland, David M.; Gunn, Hamish I. E., Pringle, Ian A. and Beloff, Bruno (September 1986). "The Rekursiv: An Architecture for Artificial Intelligence". Proc. AI Europa.  Cite uses deprecated parameter |coauthors= (help)