Space age company donor glimpses its own history at TNMOC

  |  Published: Oct 11th 2013

4Links, SpaceWire technology supplier, has become the first corporate donor to enable The National Museum of Computing to leverage matching funds from the £1 million pledge recently made by a technology entrepreneur.

Based on the 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. 

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