36bit still in use ?

Roy Hirst rhirst at xkl.com
Thu Dec 4 18:05:49 CST 2014

Good questions, thanks. TOAD-2:
Not a PDP anything clone.
Embedded processor implemented on FPGA.
Software (and firmware) cross compiled on some other platform.
Instruction set and architecture optimized over several years for 
real-time switching. Bad things happen very rarely but at 10x10Gbps when 
bad things happen they can happen quickly.
Manages system environmental status (e.g. some of the optics, such as 
filters, have tight dimensional tolerances and so can be temp sensitive) 
and status and control of data plane laser transceivers. Data plane drop 
rates must be < 1 bit in 10**16. Status and control is via a variety of 
signal pins and buses all with custom hardware interfaces to this processor.
Reliability requirements are very high, systems must run unattended 
(sometimes in inaccessible places) for 5-10 years 24x7 continuous. Laser 
transceivers, fans, power supplies are all hot-swappable in the field, 
but not the embedded processor.
In this embedded application there is a high value set on low power 
consumption (especially since systems get data-center racked and so need 
to be cooled). With this processor, you can run dual power supplies, 
four fans, a manageability plane, 10x10G client laser transceivers plus 
2 DWDM 10x10G 80km transport lasers, in one rack unit for the same power 
as 2 domestic light bulbs. The proper 60-watt kind, not the new 
supermarket funny ones.

*Roy Hirst* | 425-556-5773 | 425-324-0941 cell
XKL LLC | 12020 113th Ave NE, Suite 100 | Kirkland, WA 98034 | USA

On 12/4/2014 12:54 PM, Phil Budne wrote:
> Roy Hirst <rhirst at xkl.com>
>> Although here at XKL we don't still use TOAD-1s in the business, we do
>> have a few engineers here in R&D that are bit-level familiar with the
>> beast, even tho' the last living instance I believe is now at the Museum.
>> I'd need to stay well clear of anything XKL-proprietary, but I would be
>> happy to interview them and to put together a technical briefing on
>> stuff we can talk about. Would take me a week.
> Personally, I'd be more interested in hearing more about the "TOAD-2"
> controllers used in current XKL equipment, starting with:
> Is the TOAD-2 a PDP-10 clone, as the TOAD-1 is?
> Is it running TOPS-20 (or some subset)?
> If not, is it a self-hosting system (is development for the platform
> done on a TOAD-2) or is it an embedded processor, with binaries being
> cross compiled on some other platform?
> Thanks!
> Phil (who once worked on DEC FORTRAN-10/20)

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