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April 25, 1990


By CBR Staff Writer

Ian Barron, inventor of the innovative Transputer microprocessor, has re-surfaced as non-executive chairman of a new company offering software and hardware consultancy for companies implementing parallel systems (CI No 1,049). Barron left Inmos in unhappy circumstances last year, claiming that he had been fired by the new owner, SGS-Thomson Microelectronics BV. Division Limited, based in Chipping Sodbury, not far from the Inmos headquarters in Bristol, was formed back in August last year by three key engineers from Inmos – Phil Atkin, Stephen Ghee and Ray McConnell – and one from Perihelion, Charles Grimsdale, who had a major role in the development of the Helios multi-processor operating system. One of the company’s first tasks has been the implementation of a high performance parallel computing module for the Transtech group of Penn in Buckinghamshire, which took over the Transputer development projects of Niche Technology Ltd at the end of 1988. The new TTM100 module, said to be the first in a series of system products, uses the 40MHz Intel Corp 80860 processor, 4Mb to 16Mb of shared memory, an Inmos T805 floating point Transputer and subsystem control as a building block for parallel processing systems that is fully conformant with the Inmos TRAM Transputer module specification, and using the communications capability of the Transputer to distribute data amongst a number of 80860s. The module delivers up to 60MFLOPS peak double precision performance, described by the company as a magnitude improvement over the fastest Transputer modules. The 80860 can be used as a vector co-processor in existing Transputer applications, or as a system master running a conventional operating system such as Unix. Division also provided the software demonstration suite for the recent launch of the Inmos IQ range of Transputer modules.

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