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January 17, 1988

INMOS TRAM EASES TRANSPUTER INTERLINKING

By CBR Staff Writer

With microsystems now accounting for 65% of its business Inmos International Plc has launched and is delivering a new range of board products. The Tram, or Transputer Module, board range comprises a family of daughter modules, each with a different Transputer and memory configuration that can be stacked on a Tram mother board as the user’s application demands. The mother board can be used to interface the Transputer array into a host computer such as an MS-DOS micro, Apollo or Sun workstations and to soft-wire networks of Transputers into configurations such as matrix or tree structures. Each module has a standardised interface which comprises a 16 pin dual-in-line socket with 3.5 pitch: the 16 pins support four Transputer links, power, ground and clock pins and two other pins. The smallest module configuration has a T414 Transputer with 32Kb static RAM and costs ?384, the largest configuration has a T800 with 8Mb dynamic RAM and is priced at ?4,270. Although only officially announced today, as forecast back in April (CI No 656) the company has already shipped Trams to Apollo Computer which will be announcing a range of boards for its Domain 3000 and 4000 workstation series for added power and versatility. Start-up Niche Technology is also taking the Trams. Inmos expects to sell a number of the modules to customers like Niche that are developing add-in boards for workstations to be used in specific applications: it points out that by taking the modules the companies save themselves time and effort which they can devote to developing application specific machines. Inmos also has a Tram board for VME-based systems and will have mother boards for VAX and PS/2 machines in the future. New versions of the Inmos compilers are due this quarter, and a D705 Occam toolset aimed at scientific language developers, to include a compiler, linker, and configurer for an MS-DOS box using Trams.

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