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September 13, 1990


By CBR Staff Writer

Inmos International Plc, now owned by Franco-Italian SGS-Thomson Microelectronics Group BV, has added to its range of modular hardware and software blocks for creating scalable end-user systems. The IMS B421, an interface Transputer module, provides a bridge between the General Purpose Interface Bus and the Transputer. The General Purpose Interface Bus defines a means of interconnecting instruments to form a system around which data and control information can be passed, and it is the most common name for the IEEE-488 standard. The IMS B421 measures 4 by 3 and combines an IEEE-488 interface with a 20MHz IMS T222 16-bit Transputer, 48Kb of two-cycle static random access memory and 8Kb of electrically erasable read only memory. The interface chip is sourced from Texas Instruments, and the Transputer module is designed for ICL and IBM-compatible motherboards. A software package, the F001, is supplied with the B421, and it provides support for the data transfer requirements of IEEE-488.1. When the Transputer module and F001 software are used together, IEEE-488 test and instrumentation systems may be directly connected to networks of transputers. The software package provides a means of access to the B421 via library calls, and is designed to perform most of the General Purpose In-terface Bus handling. Inmos says that the B421 may be embedded in an instrument and carry out processing and control tasks, or it can convey arrays of data to networked Transputers for high-speed processing. Characteristics of the General Purpose Interface Bus can be user-defined so that the Transputer can act as a system or non-system controller. The IMS B421 is available from Inmos and SGS-Thomson Microelectronics, and it costs around UKP870.

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