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May 3, 1994

NOW KENDALL SQUARE RESEARCH EYES PARALLEL POWERPC

By CBR Staff Writer

Although it is the financial woes of massively-parallel systems builder Kendall Square Research Corp that have recently hogged the limelight, interesting moves are afoot on the products front – today’s edition of our sister paper Unigram.X reports that there is a plan afoot within the company to use the PowerPC RISC in a line of massively parallel – or highly-scalable symmetric multiprocessing, as these firms tend to prefer these days – systems, the first of which would see the light of day late in 1995 or early 1996. According to internal documents, the Waltham, Massachusetts company intends to use a customised 66MHz PowerPC with 133Mbps PCI bus. Kendall wouldn’t comment, but sources familiar with the plan say that while it may not bode well for customers of Kendall’s existing KSR1 and KSR2 systems – a good enough reason for Kendall to hold its breath at the moment – it certainly makes sense for the company in the long term, and could be the way out the hole it is in especially as it currently has to design its own proprietary 64-bit CMOS processors for the KRS machines, and pay top dollar to a foundry to get them made. It has had enough difficulty finding someone willing to make the things now that Hewlett-Packard Co has turned its fab lines over to production for its own needs. It is said that a Taiwanese semiconductor manufacturer has be found to join Kendall Square’s other partner, Sharp Corp. What Kendall Square would run on the PowerPC systems is unclear – KRS uses an OSF/1 derivative, while rival massively parallel player and PowerPC convert Parsytec GmbH plans to run a PowerOpen operating system.

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