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July 15, 1991


By CBR Staff Writer

The UK Department of Trade & Industry, the Science & Engineering Research Council and some 40 commercial companies, including Motorola Inc and Oracle Corp, have together raised UKP34m in funding for a new four-year research programme into parallel computing. The research, to begin in the autumn – once the various projects have been approved – is to be focused largely on converting existing industrial applications, such as climate modelling applications for Cray Research Inc machines and Digital Equipment Corp VAX boxes, to parallel computing environments. The money – UKP9m direct from the Department, UKP4m from the Science and Engineering Council, and UKP21m from industry, is being distributed evenly between Edinburgh, London, Oxford and Southampton universities. Edinburgh University is the only one of the four that already uses parallel supercomputers – its research centre currently houses a 430-Transputer multiple instruction multiple data machine from Bristol-based Meiko Scientific Ltd, another Meiko system based on 64 Intel 80860 nodes and 128 Transputers, and two single instruction multiple data Distributed Array Processor machines from Active Memory Technology Ltd – so it will be using its share of the finances to expand its activities rather than build them up from scratch. Besides Meiko Scientific and Active Memory Technology, says research worker Greg Wilson, Edinburgh University has close ties with IntelCorp and Motorola, so it’s a toss up as to which machines thecentre will invest in next. The director of Edinburgh’s research centre happens also to be the director of the European TeraFLOPS Initiative, but as yet Edinburgh has not received any EC funding. Most of the centre’s backing comes from industrial partners, such as Shell Oil and the Meteorological Office.

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