Bits & Bytes
WILL NCR SPIT OUT A SUPERCOMPUTER?
What does the name NCR Corp. suggest? Cash registers? Commercial computers? How about supercomputers? While the latter would be a big leap, it may well happen, says William J. Eisenman, vice-president of NCR's Large Computer Products Div. He has a small team looking into adapting a parallel-processing computer design, developed by NCR's Teradata Corp., to do scientific work. Eisenman says it would be based on the planned NCR 3700 computer, due out next year and incorporating as many as 1,000 Intel Corp. i486 microprocessors.
"The question is how fast can they get from here to there," says George Lindamood, who tracks high-performance computing for Gartner Group Inc. consultants. Other companies now sell computers such as Teradata's. But Lindamood says the company's Bi-Net technology may make the difference. It helps interconnect hundreds of processors so they can work on a common problem. Another plus: the Bell Laboratories unit of NCR's parent, American Telephone & Telegraph Co., could give NCR/Teradata "instant credibility" in scientific circles.EDITED BY JOHN W. VERITY