The European Supercomputer Systems division of NEC Corp says its newly developed set of tools will make supercomputers significantly easier to use. The Santa Clara, California-based company has been working with the Center for Scientific Computing in Manno, Switzerland to develop the tools, which will enable tasks to be partitioned for parallel processing and ported to supercomputers with distributed memory architecture. NEC says Distributed memory parallel processing is essential for creating scalable computers and for achieving good performance levels. The project, Annai software tool suite as it became known, has been in progress since 1993 and was aimed as bridging the gap between shared and distributed memory supercomputers. Parallelization Support tool, one of the tools to result from the project, enables computational problems and the distribution of the results to be partitioned. The Parallel Debugging tool makes sure distributed program structures stay recognizably correct, while the Performance Monitor and Analyser eliminates system performance bottlenecks. NEC said cutting the overhead costs of parallel processing was an important factor in the project. Overheads are generally higher than those of shared memory systems owing to their data exchange and remote memory access requirements. The information gathered from the project is being applied to NEC’s SX-4 series of supercomputers, and the tools will run on NEC’s Cenju-3, and also on Intel Corp’s Paragon and Cray Research Inc’s T3D supercomputer and Unix systems with either shared or clustered memory, according to NEC.