A new UK venture capital-funded start-up, Zebra Parallel Ltd, has produced a software environment enabling programs to be run across any number of separate processors without alteration. The new company, based in London and funded largely by Investors In Industry, 3i, was formed following the success of a Department of Trade & Industry-funded research project carried out at the Polytechnic of Central London. The resulting product, named Equus, will be marketed by Zebra Parallel OEM and to system houses looking for an entry into the parallel systems market. Written in C and Assembler, Equus is currently implemented on a VMEbus-based Unix System V workstation supporting 15 Motorola 68030 processors. It provides tools for developers to produce parallel programs. These are implemented in waves, or segments, each capable of running on a single processor. At run time, under Equus, a wave propagates as its segments spread across the available processors, adapting to the number of processors present: there is no theoretical limit to the number. Wave programs build and change structure dynamically at run time, which involves the creation and manipulation of active processes and the communication links between them. Each segment running on its own processor is able to communicate with other segments using a well defined set of message-passing primitives. Established by Professor Yakup Paker, the leader of the original research into hardware-independent parallel processing systems, along with managing director Richard Harris, Zebra Parallel officially launches itself this week. From a hardware point of view, configuring parallel computers is straightforward, said Harris, but operating system software is posing problems for a lot of vendors. Equus is a bespoke parallel processing environment compatible with their existing processors and operating systems. We are in a position to take a significant share of what is a world market, he claimed.