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Electronic and Computer Music$
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Peter Manning

Print publication date: 2013

Print ISBN-13: 9780199746392

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: September 2013

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199746392.001.0001

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From Minicomputer to Advanced Computer Workstation

From Minicomputer to Advanced Computer Workstation

Chapter:
(p.364) (p.365) 19 From Minicomputer to Advanced Computer Workstation
Source:
Electronic and Computer Music
Author(s):

Peter Manning

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199746392.003.0019

The development of the laboratory minicomputer during the late 70s and early 80s stimulated a demand from the scientific community for high performance advanced computer workstations that incorporated digital signal processors, or DSPs. Although the initial market for these UNIX-based systems was associated with the video industry, interest quickly extended to the possibilities of multimedia applications. Central to these developments were the interesting and productive partnerships that evolved between commercial and institutional interests, in many instances resulting in major advances at the leading edge of computer music research and development. A useful starting point for this study is provided by the circumstances that led to the birth of a revolutionary computer during the late 1980s designed specifically for multimedia applications, known as the NeXT. What makes the development particularly interesting is that this computer was designed to bridge the gap that had opened up between personal computers and advanced computer workstations, drawing on key aspects of both architectures. In so doing, it effectively upstaged both.

Keywords:   Chapter keywords: advanced computer workstation, minicomputer, multimedia, NeXT, signal processors, UNIX

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