Transparent Object-Oriented Parallel Information Computing System


TROPICS - 2427

Keywords parallel architectures, POOL, object-oriented languages


Start Date: 01-JAN-89 / Duration: 18 months

[ contact / participants ]


Objectives and Approach

The objective of TROPICS was to ensure the exploitation of the next generation of data-processing systems, by reducing:

TROPICS aimed to research and develop a symbolic, parallel computer system technology to meet the high-performance demands of symbolic applications that constitute the next step forward in office automation, and in other fields. This will be expressed in the delivery of an industrial prototype of a parallel processing system, using the object-oriented approach for exploiting parallelism.

Work-packages were planned for the following tasks:

It was planned to develop demonstrator and industrial prototypes of a workstation to serve as a user interface to the system, and multimedia, cartographic, multilingual and knowledge support applications were to be made in the office area.

Progress and Results

The project was terminated after 18 months. The results fall into four categories:

On the system side, the POOMA prototype built in project 415 (PALAVDA) was further evaluated. The layout of the communication processor chip was produced, and the chip itself will be soon available. The node was also be redesigned to allow a greater integration of the machine. Furthermore, the first components of the envisaged communication server were produced; the boards to interconnect to ISDN and FDDI were tested, and will be commercially available.

As far as the language is concerned, the object-oriented language POOL was further developed and implemented on the POOMA machine.

The work on the database system progressed toward the development of a multi-media distributed database server. An extended SQL and the implementation of abstract data types and complex objects were worked on, and first implementations were demonstrated on the selected geographic application.

To allow the programmer to develop applications on the parallel system, design tools were constructed that allow a developer to conceive the application in an object-oriented manner and experiment with the granularity of the parallelism to get the best performance. Generic tools to construct user interfaces to applications were also developed and implemented.

On the application side, the major achievement has been the geographic application. It aimed to provide a parallel geographic data-server allowing the user to ask complex queries on maps. Early prototypes have been successfully demonstrated relying on the extensions made to current database technologies, in particular by extending SQL and developing the spatial data representation.

Exploitation

The reorganisation of various participating companies does not allow reliable expectation of exploitation. However, the areas of efficient information retrieval systems, cartography and CASE tools for parallel machines have already been identified as growing markets.


CONTACT POINT

Mr E. Odijk
NEDERLANDSE PHILIPS BEDRIJVEN BV
Prof Holstlaan
NL - 5600 JA EINDHOVEN
tel: + 31/ 40-742644
fax: + 31/ 40-743350
telex: 35000 PHTC NL

Participants

NEDERLANDSE PHILIPS BEDRIJVEN BV - NL - C
CAP GEMINI INNOVATION - F - P
THOMSON-CSF - F - P
ING. C. OLIVETTI & C. SPA - I - P
SIEMENS-NIXDORF
INFORMATIONSSYSTEME AG (SNI) - D - P
CWI - NL - A
UNIVERSITEIT VAN TWENTE - NL - A
INFOSYS - F - A
STOLLMANN GMBH - D - A
KATHOLIEKE UNIVERSITEIT NIJMEGEN - NL - A
IGN-FRANCE INTERNATIONAL - F - A
DELPHI - I - A


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TROPICS - 2427, December 1993


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html version of synopsis by Nick Cook