Project: Cray-1 on E2LP
Title: Project: Cray-1 on E2LP
Topic: Digital System Design
Category Level: Problem solving
Degree weight: 4
Materials: LEDs, Input switches, Input buttons, VHDL, Xilinx ISE, XilinxIsim, UART
Augmented Reality Interface: Y
Remote Lab: Y
Abstract: One of the sad stories of Computer History is that in the world there is no existing Cray-1 series computer, only some cabinets and a few individual boards are preserved. Even worse, there is no known existing example of the original Cray Assembly Language (CAL) translator software, as well as no compilers, as it is true for (almost) all Cray-1/Cray-XMP series software, specifically development environment(s). The only known existing original Cray-XMP software is a working Cray Operating System (COS), however without any useful programmes. COS was retrieved using the digital magnetic scanning method on a non-working hard disk from the Cray-XMP age, and necessitates a full Cray-XMP system with the appropriate XMP IOPs (Input/Output Processors) and DMA (Direct Memory Access).
Luckily, a huge amount of documentation of the Cray processors and translation software is preserved by http://bitsavers.org/pdf/cray. This made it possible for Cray-1 to be resurrected and implemented in FPGA technology. In this exercise, it will be your task to create an instance of the legendary Cray-1 computer on the E2LP platform, boot it up, and design and run simple programs to verify its operation!