How Transputers work

Transputers work by sending programs and data down Transputer links to each other. These links are used by programs to share data and create work structures, for example, pipelines.

A pipeline is analogous to a production line. For example, take the task of building a wall clock:

  • the first person cuts out a chassis
  • the second worker paints the chassis
  • the third worker adds the clock face
  • the fourth worker adds the mechanism
  • the fifth worker packages the finished clock ready for dispatch.

At each tick, one new wall clock is produced from the production line. Alternatively, five workers could produce one finished wall clock each, in more-or-less five ticks, by sharing resources and scheduling their use.

The design of the parallel architecture of the software and computer depends on the problem needing to be solved. The Transputer is unique in that adding more Transputers together hugely powerful, parallel machines can be easily realised without significant loss of performance.

A larger two dimensional array of Transputers