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February 15, 1993updated 05 Sep 2016 2:37pm

CHEN ABANDONS OLD FIRM, IMMEDIATELY STARTS NEW ONE

By CBR Staff Writer

In a bizarre twist in the saga of the failure of Supercomputer Systems Inc, over the weekend, the company announced that it had abandoned efforts to find new investors to keep the company alive – and then Steve Chen immediately announced that he was forming a new company that will seek to create the world’s fastest computer. He reckons he needs between 50 and 100 people in the next few weeks, presumably all drawn from the 300 or so that lost their jobs when his first company closed its doors. Chen said the new company will draw on potential investors located while he was trying to save his old company: We will now apply what we learned in designing and building a new machine for early market introduction. That work was done on the nickels of a string of major investors led by IBM Corp, which is thought to have lost between $100m and $200m on the failed venture – but Chen’s announcement that his new company, Supercomputers International Inc, will draw on work done by the failed one raises the question of who owns that work. The new company, not surprisingly, will receive no funding from IBM; the old company failed because it couldn’t raise the $60m it reckoned it needed to bring the SS-1 to market. The company had a prototype built and running, and employees say it ran at 51.2 GFLOPS peak – three times the performance of the best machine commercially available.

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