Exhibition and Industrial Session: Tandem Computers Incorporated                                                                                          

A New Architecture For Reliable Massively Parallel Computing

Robert Horst, Techical Director,
Tandem Computers Incorporated, Cupertino, CA, USA


Many parallel architectures have been primarily developed to solve large-scale scientific problems. These systems have been optimized around the processing elements, leaving I/O performance as a secondary consideration. The next generation of parallel systems will instead be optimized around data movement and large-scale I/O. To achieve this level of I/O performance the system architecture must be built around a high-speed "System Area Network," or SAN. Tandem's ServerNet SAN is the first such network to provide high performance connections between CPUs, from CPUs to I/O, and between I/O devices. ServerNet is a wormhole-routed, packet-switched, point-to-point, network with full-duplex, byte-serial links and electrical interfaces supporting either backplane connections or inter-cabinet cables. The network gives new capabilities for shared I/O and multimedia, and can support many different network topologies. Servernet is the basis for scalable systems running a variety of operating systems with selectable levels of fault tolerance.

The presentation will outline the new "ServerNet" technology announced by Tandem Computers on 17 July 1995, and which is described in the following papers published earlier this year:

These papers are available on the Internet.

Reprints will be distributed to the ParCo'95 Conference participants.

A Servernet Architecture overview is available here. General info on TANDEM starts from here.

About the speaker

Robert Horst is a Technical Director in Tandem Labs. In his fifteen years at Tandem Computers, he has contributed to the architecture and design of five generations of parallel, fault-tolerant computer systems. He was the primary architect of the NonStop Cyclone CPU, the first commercial superscalar processor. Most recently he led the team of architects developing the ServerNet system area network. He holds a Ph.D. in computer science, and a masters degree in electrical engineering, both from the University of Illinois. He holds 23 U.S. patents related to computer architecture, fault-tolerant computing, and parallel processing.