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A PDP-8/E Emulator in Java


In 1957 I started studying physics at he ETH (Swiss Federal Institute of Technology). Just to be clear, this was really before any computer was known to the large public. the only computer known at that time in Zurich was the ERMETH. Towards the end of the 1960s, while starting on my PhD, I started using the Hewlett Packard 9100B Electronic Calculator. Sometimes we also used the Wang 720C Advanced Programming Calculator which was situated in an another department.

At that time we were doing research in the 'Villa Vesta', an old mansion near the ETH. I started by working on Hall effect in dilute alloys (mainly Indium). The group was doing research in the low temperature area of Condensed Matter (Metal) Physics.

In 1970 we moved to the newly built Solid State Lab of the ETHZ. This new lab was located in Zürich-Hönggerberg (the red spot shows where our lab was). Here I started with my new project under the guidance of JL Olsen.

The idea was to use the De Haas - van Alphen effect in order to get a better understanding of our previous results by measuring the so-called Dingle temperature of the various parts of the Fermi_surface of

Click to enlarge
Click to enlarge

See My dissertation or or that of my colleague.

In order to do these experiments we invested in some advanced equipment (at that time...) A traditional magnet was ordered and various high-sensitivity instruments were tested. All these devices were prepared for use in a digital world, i.e. they all had digital interfaces. Here is where the computer came in. Some typical results are shown in the following 'original' slides: dHvA Oscillations dHvA Spectrum dHvA Analysis Fermi surface.

After having finished my doctoral work I was engaged by a German company to do work on PDP-8 software. During this time I had the opportunity working with various new hardware components and writing software for them.

Eventually, in the 1980's, I bought back the computer. It wasn't being used anymore and was using up space in the lab. I got it for the ridiculous price of 500 Swiss francs. See PDP8.Hardware for further information.

After being pensioned from Atraxis which was the Information Systems company of Swissair, I decided to implement an emulator for the PDP8/E.
I still had an impressive amount of Dectapes and disks in my possession, and in the process of building my emulator, these were also converted into virtual copies. See PDP8.Software. The emulator was written in Java in order to be independent of computer platform. See PDP8.Emulator

I am still in the process of documenting the various devices. If you want to contact me please use: wvdmark at komputer dot org (try changing one k to c)

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Page last modified on November 28, 2012, at 01:27 AM