Massively parallel computing is proving to be a dud with buyers, according to research firm IDC. Claiming the technology’s luster has waned, IDC doesn’t see how such boxes – which in the classical sense are in any case currently only pushed by a handful of companies such as IBM and SGI/Cray – can break out of their relatively small niche in the high-end market where they can address application requirements unmet by other types of architectures. Massively parallel processor (MPP) based computers are also undergoing a technology transition, moving more toward scalable architectures. This is one of the key findings of IDC’s new report on the state of the high-performance technical computing arena. IDC thinks the market leaped to $3bn in 1996, up 43%, reversing its weak 1995 performance, which saw notable softness in key sectors. The high-end, MPP sector, which IDC notes should always be viewed as small and erratic, was only good news for IBM’s SP offering and for the Cray (now Silicon Graphics) T3E only, sales of both accounting for most of the 85% revenue increase in the sector (balanced by a 27% drop in unit shipments). In supercomputers Cray also experienced success pre-SGI buyout, enjoying strong demand in this sector along with Fujitsu and NEC. Unit shipments increased 64% over 1995, and revenue increased 23%. In the biggest sector, however, high-performance mid-range, sales increased 44% to nearly $2bn. IDC accounts for this success as due to good price/performance of RISC-based systems, compatibility with workstation clients, ease of use and availability of applications. Going forward, IDC sees continued growth in all three segments, with the biggest gainer being midrange, with projected 25% growth. The increased adoption and utilization of high-performance systems for simulation and modeling, design engineering and analysis, and product data management through industrial markets will drive market expansion, notes the Framinghamer.