It was especially exciting because I was working for Atari Corp, and our little engineering team (of maybe 20 hardware and software people) had no inkling we'd been working on it!
This was a project shot out without permission by a group in the UK. They hadn't bothered to tell us.
[I rather liked the Transputer architecture. Bizarre, but very interesting]
From what I recall, things weren't going great, and most of the staff was grumbling about the Atari side of the machine. Since Atari was where the latest funding had come from, there was a strong desire by management to show how the Atari hardware (display, disk interface, etc) was essential to the whole set-up. Whereas from an engineering point of view the Atari front-end was pretty much dead weight (vs. the Transputers that hung off the back).
Less than a year later, Perihelion went into liquidation, and a friend and I bought the contents of the building (boxes like 'Misc Electronics #14' and 'Papers #5'). We spent the following summer holidays using the customer list (i.e. the Papers) to flog the remaining Transputers (in the Misc Electronics)... Fun (though slightly morbid) times!
There's some of my occam code here: http://blog.jgc.org/2009/08/in-which-i-resurrect-13-year-old...
Oxford had some transputers from INMOS. The story I heard was that they'd been manufactured with the die in the wrong way round meaning the pinouts were all messed up. So a bunch (16 IIRC?) had been wirewrapped together to make some hideous but working machine.
Later, the transputer metamorphosed into the ST20, which was sold as a single-processor embedded microcontroller, used a lot in the TV and set-top-box market. It actually worked pretty well.
One exciting thing we discovered: on at least on transputer system (and the details are from memory, so possibly incorrect here), if you asked it to do a shift right by 0 bits, the processor would hang. We eventually decided that the microcode that implemented this was doing:
value >>= 1;
Inmos sold a T-400 board when I was in college. It was another example of a stack machine. Occam was an interesting programming language. I still have the book for that.
The Falcon came later and was unsuccessful compared to the ST.
Agreed, though the Falcon was a big step up in terms of audio hardware due to the addition of the DSP.
To hear the difference the DSP made, search on YouTube for 'ACE Tracker Falcon'. This is my personal favourite:
I like this one too, and it's probably a better technical showcase:
In comparison, here's a decent ST chiptune. Musically it's still enjoyable to listen to, but the difference in audio hardware compared to the Falcon should be fairly clear:
The AT&T DSP was light years ahead of the rest of personal computers' sound capabilities, and is in fact still competitive today. Amazing piece of work.
Sadly (I say this as an Amiga fan), the Paula sound chip was never upgraded, I believe it's the same in all Amigas, even the AGA ones. In some ways it's a testament to the capabilities of the Paula sound chip, but it's also just another example of Commodore squandering their technological lead. There were plans to go down the DSP route with the A3000+, but that machine never materialised, leaving the Atari Falcon as the best sounding 16-bit computer (IMO, of course).
But with a DSP you can do not only sound, but this (Atari Falcon demo)
Best for the time, I'd agree, but I'd suggest it's been surpassed since. Of course the SID still has its charm, when I say surpassed I mean in terms of flexibility.
IIRC the designer of the SID went on to design some of the early high-end PC sound cards.
And Bob Yannes went on to found Ensoniq after designing the SID at Commodore.
What do you base that on?
Cores are RISC, there is at least 8 of them, but you can link multiple uC into a single system. Their variation on C, xC, is using channels and guards as in occam transputer language.
You can get easily a cheap dev-kit  and play with the tech.
There's a dev kit based on the xCORE-200, for 10 X the price ($150), but it includes a 1 GbE interface which makes it a lot more interesting IMO.
Interesting architecture. Makes a ton of sense for embedded apps (which obviously was the point).
It's the story of the UK's attempt to become a force in the emerging microprocessor industry of the 1970s, told by the man who was the driving force behind it.
In the first part Iann Barron describes how Inmos came into being and the thinking behind the revolutionary transputer.
In the second part, which starts at the point when Inmos had just secured its second slice of Government funding, Iann Barron charts the company's decline and fall.
I wonder if MESS cam emulate it and if someone, somewhere, preserved enough of HeliOS to explore it.
Edit: it looks like someone did http://www.classiccmp.org/transputer/helios.htm