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February 7, 1989


By CBR Staff Writer

Encore Computer Corp, Marlborough, Massachusetts, really is to develop a 1GIPS – 1m MIPS – machine – in a $9m, five-year extension to its contract with the US Defence Advanced Research Projects Agency. The orginal contract was awarded in September 1986 (CI No 531), and was worth $10.7m over three years. It called for development of a 1GIPS prototype massively parallel machine using the company’s Multimax NS32000-based parallel Unix systems as building blocks, and to apply new concepts in hierarchical cache memory. The goals of the new contract are to produce a multiprocessor workstation that is compatible with the Multimax range as well as with the GigaMax – the 1,000 MIPS machine that was the goal of the original contract. The additional funding is also for investigating ways of scaling shared memory multiprocessors into a one million MIPS computer, according to chairman Kenneth Fisher. The project will be monitored by the US Army Engineer Topographic Laboratories in Fort Belvoir, Virginia. The new graphics- and computer-aided software engineering-oriented workstations will, according to Dr Ike Nassi, vice president of research, enable researchers and other users to prototype and test parallel algorithms on a low cost workstation, and execute applications employing these algorithms on a Multimax, or a GigaMax machine. The real-time workstation – which is to be binary compatible with both of the above – is rated at 80 MIPS, with four processors, bit-mapped graphics and 128Mb of memory. It is to use the Mach operating system – the slimmed-down Unix developed at Carnegie Mellon University, Encore’s partner on the project, although commercial Unix systems may also be available for it in the future – and will use Parasight, Common Lisp and Ada software tools – such as the Ada debugger announced by Encore last September developed under the existing contract. In the future, the GigaMax system is to be evolved into a Teraop architecture of 1m MIPS, additional work on the Mach operating system is to take place with Carnegie Mellon University, Pittsburgh, and expert systems and image understanding software applications are to be implemented on the GigaMax.

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