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November 13, 1995


By CBR Staff Writer

Thinking Machines Corp has now given more details of the parallel Sparc-based systems it is putting together (CI No 2,790) and they turn out to be clusters of Sun Microsystems Inc’s hot new UltraServer 1s. Up to nine of the uniprocessor models will be clustered together with a Fibre Channel – and subsequently Asynchronous Transfer Mode – interconnect, in a Thinking Machines rack. The company has done versions of its parallel development, conversion and visualisation tools, programming libraries, languages and compilers for Solaris, and pricing on the systems will be under $1m, the Bedford, Massachusetts company says. Sun will help market the systems but won’t put them on its price list or put salespeople on them. The systems – designed originally to house HyperSparc boxes – will be on show at the forthcoming Supercomputing ’95 show in San Diego. A distributed version of the Thinking Machines software will follow with additional technologies licenced from specialised software shops. The initial units will be followed by clustered symmetric multiprocessing Ultra 2s and servers thereafter. Sun will fill the gap with the new machines until fruits of its own parallel endeavours – developed in part by Thinking Machines refugees hired by Sun – emerge a year or so from now. Thinking Machines says it has other high-end workstation and symmetric multiprocessing vendors already lined up for its software and interconnect, but wants the Sun deal and an approved reorganisation plan under its belt before it moves on those. Ideally, it says, it would like to see Hewlett-Packard Co, Silicon Graphics Inc and other majors using its work.

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