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November 23, 1987

NUCLEUS FOLLOWS FERRANTI WITH RELATIONAL CO-PROCESSOR

By CBR Staff Writer

It’s not in the class of the Ferranti relational database search co-processor for the Motorola 68020, which is claimed to be 600 to 1,200 faster than software solutions such as Oracle Corp’s Oracle, and is due to go into beta test this month (CI No 665), but Nucleas International Corp of Santa Monica, California, has come up with a five chip set that runs as a relational database co-processor for the IBM Personal AT. Called the N:vector, the board is claimed to be about 10 times faster than pure software relational databases, and includes a proprietary associative storage system that economises on memory space, taking up about a tenth as much as software databases. The key to the efficiency of the N:vector is the use of bit vectoring, which represents strings of data as vectors that need to be stored only once, which as well as saving space means that all updates are automatically achieved by one update of the bit vector. Based on five custom gate arrays, the N:vector comes with 512Kb of cache memory, claimed to be equivalent to 5Mb for a software database because of the inherent compression in the technique. The single-user N:vector includes an SQL interface and is currently in beta test. A full development system costs $10,000, and end user boards are likely to go for $3,200 or so. That compares with $700 for Ashton-Tate Corp’s dBase III, $1,300 for Oracle Corp’s Oracle. Nucleus told Electronics that it is also doing a version of N:vector for minicomputers.

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