Meiko Scientific

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Meiko Scientific Ltd. was a British supercomputer company based in Bristol, founded by members of the design team working on the INMOS transputer microprocessor.



In 1985, when INMOS management suggested the release of the transputer be delayed, Miles Chesney, David Alden, Eric Barton, Roy Bottomley, James Cownie and Gerry Talbot resigned and formed Meiko (Japanese for "well-engineered") to start work on massively parallel machines based on the processor. Nine weeks later they demonstrated a transputer system based on experimental 16 bit transputers at the SIGGRAPH in San Francisco in July 1985. In 1986 a system based on 32 bit T414 transputers was launched as the Meiko Computing Surface. By 1990, Meiko had sold more than 300 systems and grown to 125 employees. In 1993, Meiko launched the second-generation Meiko CS-2 system, but Meiko ran into financial difficulties in the mid-1990s. The Meiko technical team and technology was transferred to a joint venture company called Quadrics Supercomputers World Ltd. (QSW), formed by Alenia Spazio of Italy in mid-1996. At Quadrics, the CS-2 interconnect technology was developed into QsNet. As of 2008, a vestigial Meiko website still exists.

Computing Surface

The Meiko Computing Surface (sometimes retrospectively referred to as the CS-1) was a massively parallel supercomputer. The system was based on the INMOS transputer microprocessor, later also using SPARC and Intel i860 processors.

The Computing Surface architecture comprised multiple boards containing transputers connected together by their communications links via Meiko-designed link switch chips. A variety of different boards were produced with different transputer variants, RAM capacities and peripherals.

The initial software environments provided for the Computing Surface was OPS (Occam Programming System), Meiko's version of INMOS's D700 Transputer Development System. This was soon superseded by a multi-user version, MultiOPS. Later, Meiko introduced M²VCS (Meiko Multiple Virtual Computing Surfaces), a multi-user resource management system which allowed the processors of a Computing Surface to be partitioned into several domains of different sizes. These domains were allocated by M²VCS to individual users, thus allowing several simultaneous users access to their own virtual Computing Surfaces. M²VCS was used in conjunction with either OPS or MeikOS, a Unix-like single-processor operating system.

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