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Operating Systems and Programming Environments for Parallel Computers

Objective

SUPERNODE II aimed to provide the software infrastructure necessary to exploit the general class of Distributed Memory Parallel Computer (DMPC) machines. This software was to be initially targeted at the transputer-based Supernode machine (ie the major output from project 1085). An overriding design aim was to provide software portable to other DMPC platforms.
Parallel computers are already used to solve many science and engineering problems. A good example is the Supernode computer developed under ESPRIT project 1085 and now marketed by PARSYS (United Kingdom) and TELMAT (France). A price/performance ratio some 10 times better than sequential computers give them the potential to be used in many more market sectors. To realise these benefits in larger markets a more extensive software infrastructure is needed to ease the development or porting of applications on these machines. SUPERNODE II is building the principal parts of this infrastructure.

The project aims to design and develop appropriate operating systems and environments for general purpose parallel, computers for a range of tasks, including run time support, program development, multiuser support, and real time applications.

An operating system kernel (PAROS) that is resident on each processing element in the system has been produced. Various high level servers are in development, such as an X Windows/Motif and various file servers. Performance monitoring tools are being provided as well as full networking facilities.
A number of user interfaces and environments are being constructed on top of PAROS, including an X/Open compatible system and the portable common tool environment (PCTE). 2 integrated project support environments (the PACT toolset and Eclipse) are being ported to the PCTE running on the parallel machine and are all being fully parallelized. Software tools are being developed that make use of the facilities offered by PAROS and will readily interface to the parallel PCTE. 4 large applications (image synthesis, simulation of heterogeneous systems, computer aided design (CAD) for very large scale integration (VLSI) and oil reservoir simulation) have been implemented and have provided a test bed for the major software components developed in the rest of the project, particularly the numerical libraries, the compilers and PAROS.
Software components were to be thoroughly integrated through clearly defined interfaces using existing standards (eg X/Open, PCTE) where appropriate. Specific tools, languages and libraries required for the effective usage of parallel architectures were to be designed and implemented. A small work package was included to upgrade the original Supernode to use the Inmos T9000 transputer.

Coordinator

Central Research Laboratories plc
Address
Dawley Road
UB3 1HH Hayes
United Kingdom

Participants (14)

APTOR
France
Address
61 Chemin Du Vieux Chêne
38244 Meylan
Alsys
United Kingdom
Address
Newtown Road
RG9 1EN Henley-on-thames
DANISH PARSIM CONSORTIUM
Denmark
Address
Rosentandsvej, 4C
2920 Charlottenlund
Defence Research Agency (DRA)
United Kingdom
Address
St Andrews Road
WR14 3PS Malvern
GRUPO DE EMPRESAS APD
Spain
Address
Castello, 63
28001 Madrid
Ipsys Software plc
United Kingdom
Address
Marlborough Court 51 Pickford Street
SK11 6JD Macclesfield
NUMERICAL ALGORITHMS GROUP LTD
United Kingdom
Address
Banbury Road 256
OX2 7DE Oxford
Ove Arup and Partners
United Kingdom
Address
13 Fitzroy Street
W1P 6BQ London
Syseca SA
France
Address
4 Square René Cassin
35100 Rennes
System Software Factors Ltd
United Kingdom
Address
St Peters Avenue
RG4 7DH Reading
Telmat Informatique SA
France
Address
6 Rue De L'industrie Zone Industrielle
68360 Soultz
UNIVERSITAT POLITECNICA DE CATALUNYA
Spain
Address
C/pau Gargallo, Apartado 30002, 5
08028 Barcelona
University of Liverpool
United Kingdom
Address
Brownlow Hill
L69 3BX Liverpool
Université de Grenoble I (Université Joseph Fourier)
France
Address

38041 Grenoble