Space age donor glimpses its own history
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4Links, SpaceWire technology supplier, has become the first corporate donor to enable The National Museum of Computing to leverage part of the matching funds from the £1 million pledge recently made by a technology entrepreneur.
Based on Bletchley Park Science and Innovation Centre, 4Links is a rapidly growing company supplying SpaceWire test equipment for satellite and space missions.
Jim Murrin, CEO of 4Links, said: "As a company that pushes technology boundaries in space, we are delighted to support the development of a Museum that tells the dramatic stories of computing advances over the past seven decades. It's not just the company as a corporate entity that has donated -- I have recently discovered that several staff are so inspired by the Museum that they have already made private donations."
Like many companies, 4Links has been able to glimpse part of its own technology heritage at TNMOC. A recent Museum acquisition of a 1986 transputer evaluation unit has particular resonance with 4Links.
Paul Walker, who founded 4Links after 14 years at Inmos working on the transputer, explained: "4Links has promoted evolutions of the transputer link technology, now known as SpaceWire, that are being designed into well over 100 satellites. Even the company name of 4Links was inspired by the transputer, each of which normally had four links.”
Tim Reynolds, Chairman of The National Museum of Computing, said: "The 4Links donation is another great boost for the Museum and we are very grateful to the company. The fact that 4Links can see its own computing heritage in our displays should encourage other companies to come and see the amazing resource that we continue to develop and perhaps gain a better understanding their own company heritage."
At TNMOC, the transputer evaluation unit is planned to be part of a future display. A transputer was a simple, high-performance and easy-to-use computer on a chip, with high-speed serial links to build scalable multicomputer systems. The transputers on the early evaluation/development boards (photo) at TNMOC clearly show regular arrays of devices and heterogeneous distributed systems, all made possible by the transputer links.
Notes To Editors
About The National Museum of Computing
The National Museum of Computing, located at Bletchley Park, is an independent charity housing the largest collection of functional historic computers in Europe, including a rebuilt Colossus, the world’s first electronic computer and the WITCH, the world's oldest working digital computer. The Museum enables visitors to follow the development of computing from the ultra-secret pioneering efforts of the 1940s through the large systems and mainframes of the 1950s, 60s and 70s, and the rise of personal computing in the 1980s and beyond.
A recent pledge by an individual benefactor of £1 million if matched funding is found means that every pound or dollar donated to the Museum will count double. Previous funders of the Museum have included Bletchley Park Capital Partners, CreateOnline, Ceravision, InsightSoftware.com, Google UK, PGP Corporation, IBM, NPL, HP Labs, BCS, the Drapers' Foundation, Black Marble, and the School of Computer Science at the University of Hertfordshire.
The Museum is currently open to the public on Thursdays, Saturdays and Sundays from 1pm, and on summer Bank Holidays. Guided tours are also available at 2.30pm on Tuesdays. There are often additional opening times for the public -- see the website or the iPhone app for updates. Educational and corporate groups are very welcome and may be on any day or evening by prior arrangement.
For more information, see www.tnmoc.org and follow @tnmoc on Twitter and The National Museum of Computing on Facebook and Google+. A TNMOC iPhone App is also now available from the iPhone App Store.
4Links, the spacecraft communications specialists, designs, manufactures and supplies an extensive range of SpaceWire test equipment and IP products. The company was founded in 2000 by personnel who contributed to the European Space Agency SpaceWire standard, a spacecraft onboard network technology now used internationally on more than 100 satellites. Today the 4Links product range is renowned as being the most comprehensive and reliable on the market. 4Links is based on the Science and Innovation Centre on Bletchley Park, home of the World War II code-breakers, in Buckinghamshire, UK.
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