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September 6, 1988


By CBR Staff Writer

Reading, UK-based Active Memory Technology Ltd, the 1986 buy-out of ICL Ltd’s DAP Distributed Array Processor massively parallel computer development and marketing business, has extended the DAP to provide computational power claimed to be in the 40,000m Boolean operations per second range, or four times that of the previous model. The DAP 610, at just over twice as much as the DAP 510, announced last October, is claimed to be the first affordable massively parallel computer, with more than 4,000 processors and full software support for parallel processing. It implements a 64 by 64 matrix of 4,096 processors to achieve character handling rates of 4,000m per second, and Active claims it will multiply integers at a rate of 1.6m per second. Like the 1,024-processor DAP 510, the new one machine features high speed data channel, connectivity with DEC VAX and Sun Microsystems workstations, and the same range of development tools and software libraries. Active has developed its own Fortran-Plus compiler which includes the matrix and vector extensions of the proposed Fortran 8X standard. It also uses the 510’s advanced data visualisation input-output subsystem. A DAP 610 with 16Mb memory is UKP250,000, with volume discounts for large end-users and OEM application developers. Active, which claims to have sold an average of two DAP systems per month since the first shipments in November last year, says it has already made shipments to two customers, and has four more orders in the pipeline. Availability is 90 days from order. ICL still owns 20% of Active, held in return for the transfer of intellectual property rights for the software, and over 20 parallel computing technology patents. Active says it is committed to improving the DAP’s performance 1,000-fold by 1998. Applications include signal and image processing, text and data store-and-retrieve, simulation and modelling.

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