Some of the *best* & *worst* of British innovation
High density code using "prefix" coding on byte sized chucks, potentially allowing processors with external data buses made of *any* number of bytes, giving (with the right job mix) 10 MIPS at a time when 1MIPS was impressive.
Interrupt service routines coded *exactly* as a normal process attached to the relevant pins.
Stack architecture (internally the model used by many if not *most* compilers) in hardware. Could have support FORTH as readily as C.
Hardware scheduler for *all* processes, including "messages" on serial I/O buses (which I think live on as "Firewire").
Use of formal methods to verify the FPU.
Bit counting instructions which allowed software decoding of GPS in real time.
Software architecture *supporting* (rather than allowing) apps to be broken into processes and distributing across as many processors as necessary *without* change.
Tungsten Silicide gate material may have been what gave it high radiation hardness.
On chip clock generation from *relatively* low frequency shared clock, simplifying board design (not sure how modern chips do it theses days).
It's designed to be used in *big* arrays but they premium priced it like an Intel processor as core of a system, at a time when you *desperately* want design wins to build volume.
No low end version (Like the 68008) which could have been 1 bit serial internally with a byte data bus. Poor performance but that *total* scaleability across the range would let a customer scale up as market and budget allowed.
No MMU, because it's going to be used in big arrays with no address translation (but it costs an arm and a leg)
No *nix port because no MMU (yes it's possible but it's a PITA without one)
Ran US DRAM operation as "Cash cow," which most start ups don't have and don't know how to make effective use of.
"Origami" editor. No doubt very neat but made *another* entry barrier to discourage people from learning it at a time you want *maximum* exposure.
Money from sale of Inmos went to Treasury, *not* Inmos, which somehow did not seem to be appreciated at the time. Inmos got nothing for the sale of itself to Thompson.
Welsh chip plant got stuffed one Christmas because they failed to realise the water company would dump a shed load of disinfectant in the water *without* telling them and clearing off for the holiday, trashing the ion exchange system.
I think ARM learned a lot of lessons from Inmos, but most of them were how *not* to do things.
Amdahls law was known 40 years ago and Intel still don't get it. 50 cores /1 *data* bus.
Can you spell "contention"?