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November 10, 1988


By CBR Staff Writer

Further bolstering bubbling Inmos International Plc, IBM is understood to have ordered 50,000 of the Thorn EMI Plc subsidiary’s Transputer microprocessors for use in one of two or three supercomputer development projects it has on the boil. The 3090 Vector Facility is something of a stop-gap to a more rarified series of supercomputer offerings planned by IBM, and was introduced mainly because users were demanding a high performance scientific capability on their top-end commercial machines. One of IBM’s supercomputer projects is actually being done by another company, Steve Chen’s Super Computer Systems Inc in Eau Claire, Wisconsin, which is being bankrolled by IBM. Not much has been heard from the Chen camp in the last nine months, leading some to wonder how well things are going there. The Transputer order is for the second project, and it is thought that the third may have been cancelled. The IBM order is only the latest in a string of pieces of good news from Inmos that began when IBM decided to use its Colour Look-Up Table chip in the PS/2. With its commodity static RAM business also seeing soaring demand as ever more personal computers use cache memory, Inmos is doing so well that its value is growing all the time, and Thorn is no longer in any hurry to sell a majority holding in the business.

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