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January 4, 1988


By CBR Staff Writer

Niche Technology Ltd of Bristol and its associated sister company Niche Data Systems Inc in Houston, Texas aren’t the only ones to see potential in supercharging Sun Microsystems workstations with Inmos International Transputer-based co-processor boards (CI No 822). Newsbytes reports that Topologix Inc of Denver, Colorado has just announced the Topology 1000 board, its first product. The Topology 1000 board packs four 32-bit T800 Transputers, each with its own memory array, and each board is rated at a peak 80 RISC MIPS. Each board can have up to 64Mb of high-speed memory and up to eight boards can be connected to a standard Sun workstation via a simple wiring harness, yielding a claimed peak performance of 640 RISC MIPS, equivalent to 40 or 50 68020s, Topologix claims. Topologix has been demonstrating the board running the classic travelling salesman problem, determining the most time- and cost-effective travel plans for a salesman who must visit 12 cities. It claims that a standard Sun 3 takes 15 hours to solve the problem, which with one Topology board falls to 20 minutes. But when the workstation has four Topology boards, it steams through the problem is in five minutes. The board is offered with a parallel Common Lisp compiler and an extended C compiler for parallel numeric applications, and provides a Unix interface to give Lisp and C access to Unix system calls. Making use the inter-Transputer links that are a feature of the Inmos chip, computer networks of arbitrary size and topology can be built, so that a grid can be overlaid onto an image, with each Transputer responsible for processing in individual grid areas, or the system can also be configured into a tree structure for search applications. Topologix will be looking for sales in simulation and image processing; the Topology 1000 board is out now at about $500 per MIPS.

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