Link: The IOCCC 2018 "Best of show" program

January 8, 2019

Christopher Mills' IOCCC 2018 entry (via) is a stunning tour de force that, well, let me quote the author's introduction:

The program delivered here is both a full machine emulation of the original PDP-7 that Ken Thompson used to write the first version of UNIX and a full machine emulation of the PDP-11/40 used by subsequent UNIXes. The Makefile can build versions that can run each of the following:

  1. UNIX v0 for the PDP-7 (circa 1969)
  2. Research UNIX Version 6 (circa 1975)
  3. BSD 2.9 (circa 1983)

This is one of those IOCCC entries where you absolutely do want to read the full author's description of their entry, because it is fascinating all by itself. For instance, until I read this I didn't know that Unix v0 had been reconstructed from original printouts of the assembly, and it's even on Github. That is just one small part of a fascinating journey.

(The IOCCC is the International Obfuscated C Code Contest, and here are the entire 2018 results. Mills' work may be even more impressive once you know that IOCCC entries must be 4096 bytes or less of C code.)

Written on 08 January 2019.
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Last modified: Tue Jan 8 21:03:00 2019
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