06
Sep

A true story

[Ed: Inspired by the recent discussion on how to get a computer that blows
up the way movie computers do. ]

A small step was taken toward this end back in the early sixties, in IBMs
System/360 model 30 CE school. Seems one of the better students had time
enough to pore over the schematics and discover which cores (remember core
memory?) were located just beneath the overtemp sensor. He wrote a small
program that did nothing but abuse those particular cores by writing ones
and zeroes alternately to them, until they heated up, and the temperature
sensor shut down the machine.

First, of course, the program printed out Programmed Power Down on the
console. Caused a lot of bewilderment among the students and instructors.
Especially since the big feature being touted about the S/360 was that it
was so oriented to multiprogramming that it didnt even have a HALT
instruction.

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