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  1. Technology
January 25, 1988


By CBR Staff Writer

Claiming breakthroughs in Directed Dataflow vector processing and symmetrical multiprocessing with Unix System V, Cydrome Inc, Milpitas, California yesterday announced its first minisupercomputer as the Cydra 5 departmental supercomputer. The machine implements a Directed Dataflow architecture originated by the company’s chief technical office Dr B R Rau. The approach is claimed to exploit the fine-grained parallelism inherent in many engineering and scientific applications, transparently to the user. Described as a superset of vector processing, Directed Dataflow is claimed to achieve high performance not only on vector operations but also on traditionally difficult structures such as loops with recurrences, irregular and sparse arrays, conditional branches and unstructured parallelism. The Cydra 5 consists of a numeric processor and multiple interactive processors and input-outpu processors. Running the Linpack benchmark, the machine runs at 10.4MFLOPS on a 100-by-100 full precision array and doing the Livermore Loops runs at 3.7MFLOPS harmonic mean. The company also claims that on Fidap fluid dynamics application, the Cydra averages one-third of the performance of the Cray X-MP. Cydrome also says that unlike its competitors, as well as doing well on specific benchmarks, the machine performs well when running full-system workloads that include a heavy interactive input-output load as well as requiring numeric-intensive computation. To this end, the proprietary 64-bit 40nS ECL gate array numeric processor is supported by one or two 68020 input-output processors, one to six 68020 interactive processors and a 68010 service processor. The two-part memory subsystem matches memory to the workload with up to 256Mb to sustain the high volume of data transferred to the numeric processor with immediate access. Up to 64Mb of support memory cuts demands on main memory by constantly supplying data to interactive processors and operating system. The Cydra is programmed in Fortran 77 with DEC, IBM, Unix and proprietary extensions. The floating point is to ANSI/IEEE 754. The input output interface, based on the VMEbus, supports Ethernet networks with TCP/IP protocols. On the operating system front, the company claims that Cydrix 5.3 is a fully compatible extension of Unix System V.3.1 and the first commercially available version of System V to offer symmetric multiprocessing, providing automatic workload balancing to increase throughput. Applications so far available are Math Advantage, Plot 10, Linpack, Itpack and Fidap; the Spice circuit analysis application, and the Amber and Cedar molecular modelling applications. On the way are the NAG library, NAG tools and the Abaqus, Adina and Nisa finite element applications. As well as the deal with Prime (see below) Cydrome has a joint marketing agreement with Silicon Graphics Computer Systems for network connection Cydrome and Silicon products and co-operative marketing activities. The base Model 1200 configuration of one numeric, one input-output, one interactive and one service processor with console, 16Mb, disk and tape units is $549,000. Main memory goes to 320Mb and disk capacity to 29Gb.

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