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Please fill me in....

    Date: Fri, 22 Dec 89 11:05 EST
    From: barmar@Think.COM (Barry Margolin)

	Date: Thu, 21 Dec 89 08:45 PST

	Maybe I'm mistaken about the general tone of this Symbolic vs.
	"Conventional" machines in the area of price/performance/environment but
	it sounds to me like some of these unix machines are now viable
	alternatives to 36xx's.

	Is this really true????

	We tried a SUN 3/260 (I think) running Lucid, packed to the gills with
	memory, and an extra disk (380 mb, I think) for gobs of paging area and
	our 3600 *still* ran circles around it (even when running Fortran!).
	And the SUN wound up costing us the same $ as our 3600!

	Are the newer SUNs (or whatever) really that much faster?  How much
	memory/disk do you realistically need?  I.e. what do these machines
	*really* cost in order to run lisp effectively?

    Sun-4's (now called Sparcstations) are much faster than Sun-3's.  Our
    experience is that Sun-4's are 2-3 times as fast at running Lisp (Lucid
    version 3.0) than a 36xx.  Note, however, that the benchmark code (the
    circuit simulation code we developed to design Connection Machines) has
    lots of declarations, which are necessary to get good performance on the

When you say circuit simulation do you mean something similar to SPICE
(i.e. lots of floating-point arithmetic and simultaneous equation
solving).  If so, did the Sun-4's you use have a floating-point

	Can you buy a $5-10k workstation that will run lisp effectively?

    No.  In order to run Lisp effectively, you need a decent amount of
    memory (16Mb, I guess) and a local paging disk.  This would bring the
    total cost of the workstation up to $15-20K.

Hmmm... That's very enticing.  How's the development environment?  I was
very frustrated with our 3/260 environment.