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Components for Future Computing Systems

Objective

The main objective of this project was the provision of a set of common tools for building information systems. Hardware and software issues were to be combined in a top-down design.
At the application level, the user was to be provided with a dynamic environment in which to create and define an application through a man-machine interface. The environment was to include tools for viewing different tasks simultaneously (multi-windowing), for quickly switching between these tasks, and for invoking actions with natural commands such as graphic symbols.
The middle level was to be a self-contained environment acting as the conduit between the applications and the lowest levels, providing support for programming language interfaces to services and functions commonly provided by operating systems, as well as an underlying homogeneous object model with a fine level of granularity.
The lowest level was to contain the hardware circuitry that best supported the application language. RISC CPUs and dedicated VLSIs were to be investigated, and network and disc interfaces and memory management studied along with the selected CPU.
A report on all the relevant technologies involved in the project has been produced. This report covers areas such as hardware, standard central processing unit (CPU) chips, reduced instruction set computer (RISC) chips, internal and external bus architecture, and interconnection schemes in multiprocessor systems, together with software (including operating systems), distributed systems, programming languages, object oriented environments, and the man machine interface.
After one year of work, a report on all the relevant technologies that were to be involved in the project was produced. This report covers areas such as hardware, standard CPU chips, RISC chips, internal and external bus architecture, and interconnection schemes in multiprocessor systems, together with software (including operating systems), distributed systems, programming languages, object-oriented environments, and the man-machine interface.
A new area of research emerged within the framework of the project: in order to integrate many of the concepts studied, several partners have decided to focus on tasks relating to multimedia workstations. These tasks range from studying the human factors of the new multimedia input and output devices, to the specification of an appropriate architecture using second-generation RISC chips.
Exploitation
With the results achieved:
-Bull plans to further develop its work in 3-D graphics and voice processing.
-Olivetti's and Acorn's developments in hardware architecture have helped to define the next generation of workstation CPUs and peripheral subsystems.
-ICL's work on software architectures is the basis from which the whole MULTIWORKS interactive environment has developed (see projects 2105 and 2713).

Coordinator

BULL SA
Address
7 Rue Ampère
91343 Massy
France

Participants (5)

Ingegneria C. Olivetti and C. SpA
Italy
Address
Via Palestro 30
56100 Pisa
Institut National de Recherche en Informatique et en Automatique - INRIA
France
Address
Domaine De Voluceau-rocquencourt
78153 Le Chesnay
International Computers Ltd (ICL)
United Kingdom
Address
Lovelace Road
RG12 4SN Bracknell
Siemens Nixdorf Informationssysteme AG
Germany
Address
Pontanusstraße 55
33102 Paderborn
Thomson Microelectronics Srl (SGS)
Italy
Address
Palazzo Andromeda 3
20041 Agrate Brianza Milano