An in-depth article on Apollo Guidance Computer (AGC) hardware for those readers who have been fascinated by Apollo Program and its impact on high-performance computing today.
|A deep dive into the Apollo Guidance Computer, and the hack that saved Apollo 14
In the years since the development of the Apollo Guidance Computer (AGC), the technical jargon may have changed, but the HPC community continues to recognize many common themes such as flops/watt power constraints, checkpoint and restart strategies, and the need for performance portability.
For the 50th Anniversary of Apollo 11, in 2019, the BSSw.io site hosted a 3 part blog series describing the development of the Apollo Guidance Computer (AGC). This past October marked the 50th anniversary of the Apollo 14 mission as it was originally planned before investigations into Apollo 13 delayed it.
In part 1, part 2 and part 3, of the aforementioned blog series, we described the hardware and software for AGC and also focused on applications by recounting the users' stories in applying the AGC to achieve Apollo mission objectives. Those who found the 3 part blog series interesting may want to read this recent article by Apollo historian Frank O'Brien, providing an in-depth description of the AGC architecture and the hack that saved the Apollo 14 mission. This article is probably one of the best and most detailed description of the AGC hardware available online short of buying the book The Apollo Guidance Computer Architecture and Operation, also authored by Frank O'Brien, or pouring over the original, 1960s era documentation.