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Fifth generation computer systems project
The fifth generation computer systems project (FGCS) was an initiative by Japan's Ministry of International Trade and Industry, begun in 1982, to create a "fifth generation computer" (see history of computing hardware) which was supposed to perform much calculation utilizing massive parallelism.
To succeed in this ambitious project, the driving organization Institute for New Generation Computer Technology (ICOT) spent billions of yen in creating a specialized hardware and an operating system entirely written in a variant of Prolog programming language, as this was believed to be a truly parallelizable language. Five running "parallel inference machines" were eventually produced:
The fifth generation computer systems project ended up as a complete failure. The computers, operating system and programs produced by the project only have academic interest these days.
- 1982: the FGCS project begins and receives funding for 5 years.
- 1985: the first FGCS hardware known as the Personal Sequential Inference Machine (PSI) and the first version of the Sequentual Inference Machine P? Operating System (SIMPOS) operating system is released. SIMPOS is programmed in Kernel Language 0 (KL0), a concurrent prolog-variant with object oriented extensions.
- 1987: a prototype of a truly parallel hardware called the Parallel Inference Machine (PIM) is built using several PSI:s connected in a network. The project receives funding for 5 more years. A new version of the kernel language Kernel Language 1 (KL1) which look very similar to "Flat GDC" (Flat Guarded Definite Clauses) is created, influenced by developments in prolog. The operating system written in KL1 is renamed Parallel Inference Machine Operating System or PIMOS.
- 1991: the first Parallel Inference Machine that actually works is produced.
- 1992: the FGCS program is cancelled/ended. The source code for PIMOS is made public domain, but since it can only run on the PIM-machine, some additional funding is given to produce an emulator for UNIX named KL1 to C compiler (KLIC).
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