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 Lisp, Forth, and building a 35-bit wide RAM 
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Joined: Wed Jan 09, 2013 6:54 pm
Posts: 1690
Timo Noko wrote a lisp, starting in forth...

Noko had constructed a Forth-like interpreter inspired by Byte-magazine. Then he realized than if he defined the symbol "(" to throw next symbol on to separate stack and ")" symbol to execute it, he would have much nicer code.

He got access to time-shared Interlisp with TTY line editor. He now understood the S-expression. He made his own editor, but screen-based, cause he had a CRT-terminal.

He realized that Nova had CAR/CDR built in. The highest bit in 16bit word causes memory controller itself to make new access in 15-bit address space.

Everything was a mess, until 1979 Byte-Magazine came about. Then he understood everything and implemented garbage-collector and eval. Gödel-Escher-Bach came out 1979 too, insanity was totally the new black!

First compiler was in CP/M-version in 1980. CP/M-version had external dynamic RAM-memory which was 35 bits wide and 64 kilowords long. Hence one address contained one Lisp-node, with 3 bits for node-type. This device was known as S-memory. Some of this stuff was actually documented & published. (Noko T. NokoLisp ja Osborne. Tietokone, No. 2-3, 1983)

(From, includes link to demo video at

First computer in 1975, a Nova 1200 clone(?) with 16kwords of core memory.

A stack of 35 DRAMs to provide a tagged lisp node storage:

The Osborne which accepted the 35 bit wide RAM in the space intended for a floppy drive:

(previously posted here but that's link-rotted)

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Wed Jul 22, 2015 9:32 pm
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