Three win R&D contracts

The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency awarded three computer manufacturers contracts totaling $146.1 million to design new kinds of high-performance computers for national security needs.

Cray Inc. of Seattle, IBM Corp. of Armonk, N.Y., and Sun Microsystems Inc. of Santa Clara, Calif., will pursue a three-year effort to build prototype components that could go into a new kind of supercomputer by the end of the decade. The work is part of DARPA's High Productivity Computing Systems program.

Cray and its wholly owned subsidiary, New Technology Endeavors Inc., were awarded $43.1 million for work on new processor architectures, processor-in-memory technology and software models. Cray's effort is code-named Cascade.

IBM got $53.3 million for Productive, Easy-to-use, Reliable Computing Systems, or PERCS. The company's goal for PERCS is to make supercomputers more adaptable and power efficient.

Sun received $49.7 million for work on its Hero program for a simplified, single-system architecture.

MIT Lincoln Laboratory of Lexington, Mass., will assess the efforts of the three vendors. DARPA will choose at least one of the second-phase participants to build a full-scale system in the third phase of the program.


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