The programmable systolic scientific supercomputer promised by Saxpy Computer Corp, of Sunnyvale, California this time last year (CI No 403), was launched yesterday as the Matrix 1, a machine designed to integrate into the DEC VAX/VMS operating environment to provide users with a familiar interface. The Matrix 1 family consists of four models – Matrix 1/250, 1/500, 1/750 and 1/1000, the subscript indicating claimed performance in Megaflops. The Matrices are designed to process data in three modes – as single words or strings of words as in traditional scalar or vector computers, and in multi-dimensional matrices, the last mode giving the highest performance. The machines, claimed to represent a performance breakthrough comparable with that brought by vector processing, are aimed at defence and seismic signal processing, image processing and numerical analysis. The machines use off-the-shelf components and derived their high performance mainly from matrix processing, so that its machines cost about a quarter as much as conventional supercomputers. The company also claims that its architecture also eliminates many of the input-output and processing bottlenecks inherent in other systems, enabling peak performance to be sustained over a wide range of scientific computing. Prices range from $896,000 for a configured Matrix 1/250 to $4m for a 1/1000. Production shipments are due to start in August.
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