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Technology / AI and automation

CULLER RE-EMERGES WITH CUSTOMER BACKING, EUROPEAN SUPPORT

Preparing for what he calls a focussed supercomputing system due for beta testing by the end of the year, Glen Culler’s Culler Associates Inc has bought back the assets, patents and software technology of the defunct Culler Scientific Systems Inc from Saxpy Computer Corp. Culler Scientific ran out of cash in July last year, and sold Saxpy the technology of its Culler 7 minisupercomputer and the recast PSC Personal Super Computer version. But after cut-backs of its own, Saxpy apparently decided against using the Culler technology for its own Matrix 1 supercomputer. Now Culler’s 12-strong research team is completing development of the Culler 8 PSC, a VLSI ECL extension of the Culler 7 architecture claimed to have five times the scalar and 10 times the vector performance of the old machine that’s 300 plus MFLOPS for a cost of around $300,000. The system consists of a three card set: controller, memory board and X/Y processor, on 6U VME boards that will slot inside a Sun-3 workstation – although in theory the front-end can be any Ethernet machine with TCP/IP and NFS, perhaps a DEC MicroVAX. A globally optimising back-end compiler looks for concurrency in both scalar and vector processing for front-end Fortran 77 and C compilers. Formed in April, Culler Associates says funding is coming from sales of the Culler 7 PSC, which is offered as a development system for customers interested in upgrading to the new box next year. One customer, the Centre for Water Research, Perth, Australia has already taken up the offer, and three other prospects in the US are near to signing, says Glen Culler. No distribution deal has been struck in the US so far, but in Europe Compass Systems Ltd of Newbury, Berkshire has taken on the machine, and offered Culler a proportion of good faith and cash says marketing manager Chris Arnold. The Culler 8 PSC should be out within a year.

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