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July 1, 1987

CULLER SHUTS DOWN, SEEKS BUYER FOR MINISUPER TECHNOLOGY

By CBR Staff Writer

Over the past couple of years, the minisupercomputer market has suddenly become crowded as a whole string of start-up companies launched products onto the essentially limited market within weeks of each other, and it is becoming clear that if a machine wasn’t one of the first, it has to have some pretty original features in order not to get lost in the crowd. Sad to say the Culler 7, and the recast PSC Personal Super Computer version, fulfilled neither criterion, and as a result Culler Scientific Systems Corp of Santa Barbara, California has run out of cash and finds its backers are not prepared to add to the $24m they have already contributed. Accordingly, reports Computer Systems News, Culler has had to suspend virtually all operations, firing all but 10 of its 80 employees, and is looking to sell its technology. The company sold just three of the original $250,000 to $1m Culler 7, and 15 or so of the $100,000 to $750,000 PSC, all uniprocessors, its weaknesses being seen as including a lack of software, and delays in bringing the system to market. The technology – described in detail in CI No 338 – is clearly worth a look: the machine uses a globally optimising back-end compiler that optimises concurrency on both scalar and vector processing for front-end Fortran 77 and C compilers. The system consists of a series of dissimilar function processors tightly coupled on 64-bit data and 32-bit address buses, the complex front-ended by a Sun workstation running a subset of Berkeley Unix. C Itoh, which sells the Culler machines in the Far East, is tipped as likely to be interested. The company’s principal venture backers were Adler & Co and F Eberstadt.

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