TI Explorer

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The Texas Instruments Explorer is a family of Lisp machine computers. These computers were sold by Texas Instruments in the 1980s. The Explorer is based on a design from Lisp Machines Incorporated, which is based on the MIT Lisp Machine. The Explorer was used for development and deployment of artificial-intelligence software

Notable is also the early use of the NuBus as the system bus for the Explorer computer family.


The Explorer was used for development and deployment of artificial-intelligence software. Later models were based on a special 32-bit microprocessor[1] developed by Texas Instruments, which supported the execution of Lisp software in hardware.

Operating system[edit]

The operating system of the Explorer was written in Lisp Machine Lisp and also supported Common Lisp.[2]


A notable application is SPIKE,[3] the scheduling system for the Hubble Space Telescope. SPIKE was developed on Texas Instruments Explorer workstations.


  • Explorer[4]
  • Explorer II, based on the Lisp microprocessor
  • Explorer LX, which combines the Explorer with a co-processor running a version of UNIX (TI System V)
  • MicroExplorer, a NuBus board for the Apple Macintosh based on the Lisp microprocessor


  1. ^ Patrick Bosshart "A 553K-Transistor LISP Processor Chip", IEEE Journal of Solid-State Circuits, VOL sc-22, nr 5, October 1987
  2. ^ The Explorer System Software Manuals: Lisp Reference (1985)
  3. ^ SPIKE (PDF), archived from the original (PDF) on 2017-02-27, Artificial Intelligence Scheduling for the Hubble Space Telescope, Mark Johnston, Glenn Miller, Jeff Sponsler, Shon Vick, Robert Jackson, Space Telescope Institute
  4. ^ "Official TI Explorer Computer System Brochure". Classic Computer Brochures.


  • Software innovations for the Texas Instruments Explorer computer, Tennant, H.R.; Bate, R.R.; Corey, S.M.; Davis, L.; Kline, P.; Oren, L.G.; Rajinikanth, M.; Saenz, R.; Stenger, D.; Thompson, C.W., Proceedings of the IEEE Volume 73, Issue 12, Dec. 1985 Page(s): 1771 - 1790
  • Artificial intelligence hardware architectures for the Space Station era: The Texas Instruments Explorer and Compact LISP Machine, Krueger, S. ; Manuel, G. ; Matthews, G. ; Ott, G. ; Watkins, C., Opt. Eng. ; Vol/Issue: 25:11
  • Dussud, P. H. 1988. Lisp hardware architecture: the Explorer II and beyond. SIGPLAN Lisp Pointers 1, 6 (Apr. 1988), 13–18. http://doi.acm.org/10.1145/1317224.1317226
  • P.H. Dussud, TICLOS: An implementation of CLOS for the Explorer Family, In Proc. OOPSLA'89, International Conference on Object-Oriented Programming, Systems, Languages and Applications, 1989, pp. 215–219.
  • Zeitgeist: Database Support for ObjectOriented Programming (1988), by S Ford, J Joseph, D Langworthy, D Lively, G Pathak, E Perez, R Peterson, D Sparacin, S Thatte, D Wells, S Agarwal, In Proceedings of the Second International Workshop on Object-Oriented Database Systems (Zeitgeist was an OODBMS developed by Texas Instruments for the Explorer)

External links[edit]