Bits & Bytes
HELPING PARALLEL COMPUTING INTERSECT WITH BUSINESS
So far, science and engineering have been by far the major markets for those new beasts known as massively parallel computers. Such machines link together dozens or even thousands of cheap microprocessors to achieve high speed and performance. They've been talked up as a replacement for mainframe computers in standard business applications, but so far business hasn't shown much interest.
That could be changing. On Oct. 19 and 20, the Commercial Applications of Parallel Processing Systems conference will be held in Austin, Tex., the first major meeting of its kind. Representatives from companies such as CitiBank, Lehman Brothers, American Airlines, and American Express will be on hand to discuss their efforts to bring highly parallel computing into mainstream business applications such as on-line transaction processing. Daniel Schutzer, director of advanced technology for CitiBank, says data-center managers must be convinced that these setups will be dependable and can be maintained without hiring additional staff. But he's sure that it's only a matter of time before parallel processing machines penetrate the mainframe market in a major way.EDITED BY PAUL M. ENG