I would be interested in having the magnitude of change from the original 777 to this explained. In the early 90s the 777 was hailed as the first all-digital design airliner, where a 3D model was used and could be manipulated to check clearances, the ability to fit MX tools and hands, etc. all before being built. Nearing three decades later, the improvements must be astounding. I wonder how much those old CAD designs were a pain to work with compared to today; although at the time I'm sure everyone was just thrilled to bin their slide-rule.
It seems most of us don't know the current setup, and those who know won't say.
I've found a few references to what tech the 777 program used:
The Boeing 777 is the first jetliner to be 100 percent digitally designed using three-dimensional solids technology. Throughout the design process, the airplane was "preassembled" on the computer, eliminating the need for a costly, full-scale mock-up. The 777 Division is using CATIA (computer-aided, three-dimensional interactive application) and ELFINI (Finite Element Analysis System), both developed by Dassault Systemes of France and licensed in the United States through IBM. Designers also use EPIC (Electronic Preassembly Integration on CATIA) and other digital preassembly applications developed by Boeing.
Ref: https://www.mura.org/websites/me39c.me. ... catia.html
Instead of producing drawings on reams of paper, designers store their work inside the memory of eight IBM mainframes. In the Puget Sound area, approximately 1,700 individual computer workstations are linked to the largest mainframe installation of its kind in the world, consisting of four IBM mainframe computers. This mainframe cluster also is linked to mainframes and workstation installations in Japan; Wichita, Kan.; Philadelphia; and other locations.
At the height of the design process, Boeing had more than 2,2000 workstations networked into eight IBM 3090-600 mainframe computers.
Ref: https://books.google.com/books?id=OEniu ... 90&f=false
So if we go with the high end estimate, we see eight IBM 3090-600 mainframes serving 2200 workstations.
Each one looked like:
Each of the six extensions of the "main frame" holds what we would now refer to as one "core" that ran at 17.2 nanosecond clock rate, or in modern terms, 60 MHz (megahertz, not gigahertz).http://www.chilton-computing.org.uk/ccd ... s/p009.htm
suggested it could access a total of 256 megabytes (not gigabytes) of central (directly addressed) storage and 1024 megabytes (i.e. 1 gigabyte) of expanded storage (basically bulk storage that needed special instructions to access so was only somewhat useful).So in very round terms, we have a six core server running at 60 megahertz with 256 megabytes of memory serving 2200/8 = 275 workstations.
In round terms each one of these mainframes cost $12 million, before you bought any of the other stuff you needed to go with it, such as disk drives, workstations, network connections, etc.
Each of the eight mainframes could have easily cost twice the $12M figure by the time you bought all the stuff you needed to run it, and they consumed massive amounts of electricity.
Each designer working with the system would (if they were lucky) would be using this kind of terminal (IBM 6090):
If they weren't lucky, they were given an IBM 5080, which is so old I'm having a hard time finding a picture of it.
I do have a connection to all this stuff. In the late 80s / early 90s I was an IBM employee and worked for the part of that giant corporation (over 425,000 employees!) that sold this kind of stuff.
I remember seeing internal news releases when Boeing decided they needed to add two more mainframes to their cluster.
We loved hearing that news, it was in essence job security for all of us.
Please do keep in mind Boeing was buying this stuff around 30 years ago.
Soooo much has changed how we do things.
And yes, a lot has changed since 2007 when Boeing launched the 787.
2007 was the year of the first iPhone (yes, generation 1) and the Intel Core Duo.
Interestingly enough, single core computer speed really hasn't increased since 2007, see below.
What has increased is the number of cores, memory bandwidth, network bandwidth, and cheap computes from GPUs.
Instead of mainframes, we now talk in terms of warehouse scale computing.