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Encyclopedia > Floating Point Systems

Floating Point Systems Inc. (FPS) was a Beaverton, Oregon vendor of minisupercomputers. The company was founded in 1970 by former Tektronix engineers.

The original goal of the company was to supply floating point coprocessors for minicomputers. In 1976, the AP-120B array processor was produced. In 1981, the follow-on FPS-164 was produced. These processors were widely used for scientific applications in reflection seismology, physical chemistry, and other disciplines requiring large numbers of computations. Attached array processors were usually used in facilities where larger supercomputers were either not needed or not affordable. In 1986, the T-series hypercube using Inmos transputers and Weitek coprocessors was introduced.

In 1988, FPS acquired the assets of Celerity Computing of San Diego, California.

These product lines became the APP product lines of Cray Research when FPS was acquired by that larger company in 1991. After CRI purchased FPS, it changed the group's direction by making them Cray Business Systems. This business unit built the CS-6400, a SPARC-based symmetric multiprocessing system that could scale up to 64 processors.

After Silicon Graphics acquired Cray Research in 1996, this business unit along with the CS-6400 product line were sold to Sun Microsystems. This was a great strategic mistake by SGI, as the CS-6400 became the progenitor for the very successful Ultra Enterprise 10000 multiprocessor mainframes. These systems allowed Sun to become a first tier vendor in the large server market which Silicon Graphics never achieved.



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