Project Acronym : SUPERNODE|
Title : Development and Application of a Low-Cost, High-Performance, Multiprocessor Machine
Objective : The objective of SUPERNODE was to develop a high-performance, multiprocessor, prototype computer with a flexible architecture, suitable for a wide range of scientific and engineering problems.
General Information : Results were as follows:
The basic component (the T800 version of the transputer with a floating-point multiplier facility) and the Supernode computer developed in the project are representative of the present state of the art. A 1000-transputer machine was implemented as an arr ay of supernodes. The machine architecture is expandable, and the interconnection of nodes is reconfigurable, as are the transputers at the node level. A high-speed input/output interface (100 Mbit/s) was developed for real-time vision applications. Further multi-node machines are currently under test prior to delivery.
The basis for software development is OCCAM and the INMOS transputer development system. The software development host is either MSDOS or Unix using the Transputer Development System with extensions. The target code is downloaded to Supernode over a tran sputer communications connection.
Important applications in signal processing and logic simulation benefiting directly from the parallel processing environment have been successfully developed. Other studies have been made of the user software environments in the following areas: image p rocessing, scientific applications, CAD, ray tracing, CAM, and in the provision of a numerical algorithms library.
The T800 transputer is a significant industrial result from INMOS and is now manufactured for industrial use. Five hundred designs worldwide are based on the T800 and its spin-offs. Single and multiple node Supernode-based machines are being marketed.Among the applications and products that have resulted from the work packages of this project are the following: the LUCKY-LOG logic simulator in the CAD for VLSI area, now presented as an add-on card for PCs; several image-processing applications; digital signal processing applications; applications of image generation by the ray-tracing method; multi-transputer architecture studies in CAM; the provision of diagnostics and debuggers; and Occam and Fortran libraries.
The Supernode computer has been further developed to the product level by Telmat and Thorn-EMI. A new subsidiary of Thorn-EMI, PARSYS, has been set up to handle the product. Manufacturing of components is shared between the companies to encourage economies of scale.
The project has attracted wide interest in the architectures community, particularly through several international presentations.
The availability of parallel processing hardware, based around systems such as T800, has demonstrated the poor level of software to support such systems. Efforts are in progress to address the shortcomings in both skills and products.
Project Status : Completed
Start Date : 09-Dec-1985
End Date : 09-Dec-1988
Duration : 36 months
Programme Acronym : ESPRIT 1
Subprogramme Area : ADVANCED INFORMATION PROCESSING
Ultracomputer, multiprocessor machines
Programme Type : 1st FWP (First Framework Programme)