Welcome to Ram Meenakshisundaram's Transputer Home Page

"…sequential computers are approaching a fundamental physical

limit on their potential power. Such a limit is the speed of light…"

Ram's Totally Unofficial Atari Transputer Workstation 800 Pages*

The Atari Transputer Workstation

These pages are dedicated to the Atari Computer Workstation (ATW800). I would like to see them develop into a resource for us poor beleaguered ATW800 owners scattered around the globe. If you have (realistic) ideas about what could be included here, please let me know via email.

About the ATW800

The ATW800 was first introduced, under the name ABAQ, at the COMDEX show in Las Vegas in November 1987. Depending on which version of Atari's documentation you read, either 50 prototypes were released in May 1988, and 300 production machines in May 1989, or else there were 100 prototypes and 250 production machines. In either case it would appear that 350 machines were built in all. In 1995 ACN in the Netherlands held what appears to have been the final "closing-down sale", and of course Atari no longer exists as a company: so ATWs are now only obtainable second-hand.

The ATW800 was produced in collaboration with the U.K. company Perihelion a.k.a. Distributed Systems Limited; they appear to have been responsible for the hardware design (as evidenced by the copyright markings on the circuit boards), and their operating system "Helios" (a distributed un*x) was bundled with the ATW. Alas, Perihelion are no longer with us, but Olivier Aichelbaum has told me that in his final correspondence with them Perihelion granted permission for Helios to be distributed freely on a non-profit basis. I have therefore made a copy of Helios 1.3 available here. You should read the instructions in conjunction with my guide to getting started

The ATW800 Hardware

The ATW800 comes in a rather imposing under-the-desk maxi-tower casing. The basic configuration consists of

Thus a fully-equipped ATW800 could contain 13 transputers (260 megaflops) and 16 MB of RAM.

ATW800 Resources

There seem to be a lot of people staring at an ATW they've just bought, with no documentation, saying to themselves "Great. No how do I start this thing?" If that's your situation, have a look at my guide to getting started. (Work in progress.)

If you have no copy of Helios, or if you want to try out version 1.3, here is a set of installation disks for Helios 1.3. And if you have no boot disk, or it seems to be corrupt, download this STZIPped archive of an ATW800 boot floppy.

I have some documentation on the Blossom chip, which may be of use to those trying to write device drivers: this is available in 1st Word format.  A C header file is also available.

The only other thing available so far is the SCSI driver I inherited with my ATW. (This is the same one that's included on the boot disk above). 

*The following pages are copied almost verbatim from the defunct Totally Unofficial ATW800 Page that was maintained by Chris Gray.  I just reformatted it to be in-sync with the reset of my pages.