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The subject of this year's special exhibition is "Computers and Music".

The following exhibitions have been registered:

IBP 190ST – A Compact Atari ST for Industrial Control

If one wanted to have a compact and powerful computer in 1988 for industrial control for which plenty of software was available, one couldn’t just get a Raspberry Pi. But there was a product from IBP, a small German company, that re-implemented an Atari Mega ST on three euro-boards in combination with an industrial bus and special features sought after in this field. Combined with a license, they sold this setup as the 190ST. This exhibition shows a running IBP 190ST, which was used for controlling a disco laser. Fritz Hohl

40 Years of ZX Spectrum – The Little Briton

The Sinclair ZX Spectrum was the British answer to the Commodore C64 and has just celebrated its 40th birthday this year. Sold in 1982 for 125 British pounds with 16kB of RAM (compared to 399 pounds for the C64), it soon became popular despite a cassette player and TV screen having been the only peripherals at the time. It also owes its popularity to plenty of software and because it was based on a Zilog-Z80 processor, which was also widely cloned in Eastern Europe, e.g. in Eastern Germany. Not requiring special circuitry limited the sound and video capabilities, but enabled easy reproductions, which lead to many clones of this home computer in Eastern Europe. This resulted in a very active programmer scene, which, even up to today, brings the screen to life with almost impossible creations. In the meantime there are many modern interfaces and extensions, such as memory cards as well as disk-, joystick- and network interfaces. In recent years, it has become possible to create 100% compatible clones, as the logical array (ULA) of the ZX spectrum has been reverse engineered. This gave rise to the ‘Harlequin’, which has since been rebuilt several hundred times, which demonstrates the attractiveness of the concept. In the meantime, there have been two Kickstarter projects to create the "ZX Spectrum Next" with an authentic casing and perfected interior that is not emulated. One machine based on the original campaign will be on display and a group of computer clubs keeps the little Briton alive. The exhibitors are members of the Spectrum User Club Stuttgart (SUC), which also organizes an annual user meeting in Wittenberg. Norbert Opitz, Ingo Truppel and Sandra Truppel

German Computers and Computer Technology, 1968 to 1986 – The TELEFUNKEN TR 8 and AEG 80 Designs

There are voices in politics and society who demand more digital sovereignty for Germany and Europe. This includes research and development of software and hardware, and should reduce the dependency of external sources and global supply chains at a time when the scarcity of chips is still perceived as an urgent problem. In the past, however, there were already companies in Germany and Europe that developed their own complete supply chain and related know-how for the development and production of digital computers, components and infrastructures. This exhibition and the corresponding talk will show impressive early computer families, the TELEFUNKEN TR 8 and the AEG 80. The Telefunken TR 84 will be shown in this exhibition, which was developed starting from 1967. Based on 18-bit ECL technology, it was freely programmable and was used by the Germany army for artillery and weather calculations. Later, this model was developed into the AEG 80/20 and the MR8020 by ATM. Both computers are still working and can be used in combination with a teletype and a program loader device that is based on magnetic bubble memory. These artifacts are examples of the aspirations to compete in a rapidly growing globalized market. The exhibition and the talk will also take a look at the history of the computing subsidiary of AEG-Telefunken, that was based in Konstanz, Germany. In addition, ideas and methods will be shown and discussed how vintage computers, for which almost no documentation can be found anymore, can be accessed and brought back to live by reverse engineering the power supply, the arithmetic unit and the programming of the time. Bernd Johann

Tiny ACE – On the Trail of Turing's Pilot ACE

Alan Touring did not only conceive the "Turing Machine" but has also designed one of the first real and freely programmable computer after the second world war, the "Automatic Computing Engine" (ACE). Turing’s design of 1945 was only realized in 1950 with a smaller pilot model, the "Pilot ACE". Nevertheless, with a clock rate of 1 MHz, it was the fastest computer worldwide at the time. The Pilot Ace was not only used as a technical test bed as originally planned, but also for large-scale aerodynamic calculations. In the following years, the "big" ACE was superseded by more modern computing and memory architectures. The exhibition will show the unusual architecture of the Pilot ACE: All data and program instructions are stored in ultrasound delay lines, which acted as main memory and registers. Essentially, there is only one program instruction, the transfer dataword instruction - which can execute all required computational or logic functions based on special source and destination addresses. As a result, it offers the capabilities of a universal von-Neumann architecture. The exhibition will show a shrunken but fully functional demonstator that can be used to experiment and discover all characteristics of the Pilot ACE. The "Tiny ACE" only uses discrete 74xx-logic chips, which helps to identify the ACE system architecture directly on the circuit board. The program and the data is stored in real rotating ultrasound memory which consists of acoustic delay lines of PAL TVs of the 1980s. These have proven to be so precise and stable to enable the circulation of data over hours. Jürgen Müller

Newly Built Vintage Computers in Operation

This exhibition shows four newly-built vintage computers. The technology-demonstrator for the 4-bit tube computer SPACE AGE 3-V is a functional model of a part of the data path of this computer for the verification of the digital logic and the registers. Visitors can program and execute an addition instruction on this data path. The second vintage computer shown is the functional model of the SPACE AGE 3-T built with TTL-logic of the 4-bit tube based Space AGE 3-V. The model is built with 130 TTL chips and implements the functionality of a simple pocket calculator. Visitors can use the model to do their own calculations. Thirdly, the 8-bit TTL EDIC CPU will be shown. It is built from 120 TTL chips and has a well-arranged layout as it has been designed for educational purposes. In combination with a VT100 terminal, visitors can play "Snake" on this machine. The fourth object shown in the exhibition is the SPACE AGE 2, which consists of 800 TTL chips and now includes an Ethernet interface and email software. The device has a MIPS-1 compatible instruction set and visitors can send and receive emails on the system. Henry Westphal (TU Berlin and TIGRIS-Elektronik GmbH)

Retro Networking: Remote Data Transmission with Modems and ISDN

In this exhibition we will show a private digital telephony network and use it to communicate with modems, ISDN adapters and ISDN videophones of the 1980s and 1990s. The modems are connected to PCs and laptops of the times with corresponding software (terminal programs, point software, etc.) to demonstrate how Bulletin Board Systems (BBSes) and mailbox systems were accessed at the time. The collection is part of the "retronetworking" project which has been developed in the Osmocom (Open Source Mobile Communications) community to keep historic communication technology of many flavors alive. Harald Welte

Symbolics Lisp Machine – The System from the Ivory Tower

Lisp is one of the oldest programming languages but nevertheless had high requirements for computers on which it could run. This is why Lisp programming was limited to a small community of developers at universities and research institutes which had the required systems. Due to its suitability for the processing of non-numerical problems, Lisp was particularly popular in the area of Artificial Intelligence. The Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) was a stronghold of Lisp development and a number of computers were designed there for the execution of Lisp programs. In the 1980s, these systems were then commercialized by a number of companies. The exhibition shows the Symbolics MacIvory II, which uses an Apple Macintosh II as a host system. Hans Hübner

BK-0010.01: The Most Well-known Home/School Computer from the USSR

Computers in the Soviet Union were used not only in nuclear plants, military bases and big government companies. In the 1980s, many different computers were created for home and educational use. They weren't compatible with each other, there was almost no "official" software, but computers became quite popular in the late 1980s. One of the most popular computers was the BK-0010, which is compatible with the PDP-11. It was widely used in education. Soviet people were using BK computers (BK-0010 and its successor BK-0011M) for many purposes. A lot of different software (ca. 1000 games, compilers, text and graphics editors, financial apps etc.) and many peripheral devices were created by enthusiasts. Those computers were in use until the 2000s, when they were completely replaced by modern PCs. But even now there is still a big BK community in Russian-speaking countries. People create new software and devices using modern technologies to emulate or make them compatible with BK computers. There are things made in 2022 working with the computer made in 1985! Eugene Bolshakoff

The Hardware of the First Four Coin-operated Atari Arcade Machines 1972 to 1974

The exhibition shows working replicas based on original circuit designs and restored circuit boards of the first four Atari arcade machines: Pong, Space Race, Pong Doubles and Rebound. The hardware exclusively consists on basic circuits of binary information processing such as logic gates, binary counters, coders, decoders etc. but no computing technology. Interesting circuitry will be shown to demonstrate how impressive game features could be realized with limited hardware. Wolfgang Nake

Special Exhibition "Computers and Music"

Computers have never been silent. From the first clacking relay computers to early tube computers with drum memory and punch card readers to the systems cooled by fans and armed with teletypes of the mainframe and minicomputer eras, computer rooms and data centres have been filled with noises. Acoustic output interfaces were added to these as early as the 1950s to intentionally output sounds. But both the ancillary noises and the sound outputs were used from the beginning by creative users to produce music. From the microcomputer age, when square waves of any frequency could be generated and sounds synthesised in a variety of ways by sound processors and cards, the production of computer music has dramatically improved in quality and quantity. In our special exhibition, we want to present and exhibit as many computers for, and methods of, sound production as possible: From the minicomputer that emits sonorous noise via a radio to the floppy disk drive whose motor can be used as a rhythm instrument; from the home computer that is used as a synthesiser to the video game that is controlled via drums.

Page last modified on 2023-10-09