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Definition: PDP

(1) (Plasma Display Panel) See plasma display.

(2) (Policy Decision Point) See COPS and XACML.

(3) (Programmed Data Processor) A minicomputer family from Digital that started with the 18-bit PDP-1 in 1959. Its USD $120,000 price was much less than the million dollar machines of the time and 50 units were built.

In 1965, Digital legitimized the minicomputer industry with the PDP-8, which sold for about $20,000. By the late 1970s, the PDP-8 processor was put on a single chip and used in DECmate workstations. Other PDPs were built, including 12-bit, 18-bit and 36-bit machines, the larger ones evolving into DECsystem models.

In 1970, Digital introduced the 16-bit PDP-11, which became the most widely used minicomputer with more than 50,000 systems sold. The PDP-11 was a very sophisticated machine for its time. In 1977, the VAX series was introduced, but PDP machines lingered on for many years.

Programmed Data Processor-5
The PDP-5 was one of Digital's early computers. The PDP series pioneered the minicomputer industry. (Image courtesy of Digital Equipment Corporation.)