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November 1, 1988

FPS COMPUTING BETS THE SHOP ON MULTI-RISC UNIX SUPER

By CBR Staff Writer

Admitting that it had failed to take notice of the demands of the marketplace, FPS Computing – the Beaverton, Oregon company more familiarly known by its old name of Floating Point Systems Inc, has completed a year-long effort to set the company back on its feet by launching a new range of minisupercomputers based on open standards. After radical re-structuring, involving new management, substantial lay-offs, and halting of research and development on products such as the Inmos Transputer-based T Series systems, FPS is betting the company on the new Model 500 64-bit supercomputer range, based largely on technology from Celerity Computing Inc, which it acquired back in April. Described optimistically as a mid-range supercomputer, the FPS Model 500 can be configured with from one to four ECL RISC processors bought in from Bipolar Integrated Technology – these can be scalar processors or a mixture of scalar and vector processors. Top-end machines are rated at up to 133 MIPS and 167MFLOPS and can support up to 512 users for around UKP1m but at the low-end, a single scalar processor system rated at 33 MIPS costs UKP200,000. FPS says that traditional Unix performance bottlenecks such as context switching have been dealt with by specially designed hardware including a large number of registers and process tagged addresses, as well as Celerity’s Berkeley 4.3 System V compatible symmetrical processing version of Unix, introduced in 1986. The 500 is largely based on the aborted Celerity 6000 with FPS enhancements. Beta ships have begun.

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