Jump Over Left Menu
Display Boards: Networking
Clients and Servers on a LAN
The emphasis here was that the future of computing would not be stand-alone systems but workstations connected by a Local Area Network to a set of specialist servers. At this time there were no standards for Local Area Networks and the one being pushed in the UK was the Cambridge Ring. No standards for ethernets existed and the view in the UK was that the Cambridge Ring was a better technology.
The Servers shown include SERC's CRAY at Daresbury and a satellite gateway (RAL has satellite connections to CERN, locally in the UK and elsewhere.
ICL had developed a massively parallel SIMD architecture called the Distributed Array Processor (DAP). There was a proposal from RAL that ICL should integrate a mini DAP with the PERQ, and have the memory of the DAP being the memory buffer for the display.
The Cambridge Data Ring was currently the standard Local Area Network technology in the UK. The Joint Network Team responsible for network developments in the UK academic sector were putting money into local development projects associated with the Cambridge Ring as was the Department of Industry. With hindsight, going for ethernet rather than Cambridge Ring, even though it was an inferior technology, would have been better. It mirrors the UK's support for ISO protocols long after TCP/IP had become the de facto standard.
The Cambridge Ring consisted of a set of stations that passed messages around the ring with the receiver taking off the messages for it and passing on the rest. Cambridge Rings could cover larger areas than the equivalent ethernet technology and there was no contention.