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Informatics main thrust in the technology area was the transputer.
Early in 1987, SERC and the Department of Trade and Industry (DTl) launched a coordinated programme on the Engineering Applications of Transputers. The INMOS transputer was the first effective microprocessor on the market designed to work in a parallel processing environment. The primary aim of the Initiative was to capitalise on UK strength in parallel processing research by the transfer of this expertise into UK industry. A Working Party of the Computing Facilities Committee (CFC) made a number of recommendations in October 1986 which form the basis of the programme. A small coordination team at RAL spent 1987 getting the Initiative started.
The main components of the Programme were:
- Loan Pool: a significant hardware and software Loan Pool offering 6 months Pump Priming loans to the UK Academic Community;
- National Centre: to provide a focus for the activity
- Regional Support Centres: three Regional Support Centres to provide support, training and access to transputer-based facilities, particularly for the benefit of UK Industry;
- Coordination Team: based at Rutherford Appleton Laboratory, responsible for the day to day running and coordination of the Programme;
- Software: earmarked funds for ensuring specific key software developments were carried out, to ensure that transputer systems could be exploited in real applications areas