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Re: How fast is that machine???
Drew: In my opinion, the 3600 (or any other Lisp machine) beats
the Apollo in all the other categories already, plus some you
didn't mention. For instance, the Apollo window package was
apparently designed by chimpanzees.
Some poeple I know who have worked on both Apollos and 3600s claim
that the Apollo window system is superior to the 3600. If the Apollo
system was designed by chimpanzees, perhaps the 3600 system was designed
3. How good is the software? Does it support transparent remote file
access? Mail? TeX? Scribe? Graphics? Yale-style editors? C?
Drew: Yes to all but word processors and C.
Again, I wasn't aware that transparent remote file access was
implemented very well on the 3600. I didn't think *any* company had
done as nice a job as Apollo.
Drew: Common Lisp will be able to do anything that T can do, just
a lot uglier.
I suppose one could say the same about Fortran... (Sorry -- I just had
to get that one in!)
Drew: Also, remember that Common Lisp will ease communication
with people *beyond* the local community.
The Lisp is Zetalisp, which will no doubt evolve into Common Lisp.
(CL was heavily influenced by the design of ZL.)
There's no doubt that that Common Lisp will improve "commonality"
in the general CS community, but there is still a growing interest
in Scheme dialects, especially in academia.
David: A brief clarification: At the current time I do not see
Lisp machines replacing Apollos. A department may be able to
afford $10K to $15K per student, but it can't afford $50,000.
I see Lisp machines as an alternative for people whose programs
are too large to run on Apollos.
This is good point. I'm curious: do you know how many people have
programs that fall into this category? I know Drew's stuff does,
but is it really that common of a problem? I know everyone would
like to see all of their programs run faster, but how many people
can claim that speed would make a truly qualitative difference?
David: In terms of cost, IFF Symbolics is willing to give us the
kind of deals I was quoted at AAAI this summer, 3640s should be
cost competitive on a node per node basis with terns. My estimate
is that a 3640 OUGHT to be available at under $50,000 per node.
The initial deal from Symbolics will undoubtedly look very nice, since
they would very much like to "get a foot in the door" at Yale. Apollo
made a similar deal with JOD once upon a time.
David: Since 3600's have a company behind them, not a graduate
department in which each group would love to see the others go
away, software support should not be a problem.
This is sad. Do you really think things have reduced to that?
David: T 3.0 was to have been here after a full summer of work
by all involved.
Just for the record, there was never any plan to have T3 complete
by the end of the summer. I think it's safe to say that 90% of the
things planned got accomplished.
David: Now it is promised for December.
Also for the record, no "promises" are being made for T3 period --
T3 *could* be ready by December, but several non-technical issues
need to be resolved first.