Convex Super-computing Architecture & Products

Convex Computer Corporation was a company that developed, manufactured and marketed vector mini supercomputers and supercomputers for small-to-medium-sized businesses. Their later Exemplar series of parallel computing machines were based on the Hewlett-Packard (HP) PA-RISC microprocessors, and in 1995, HP bought the company. Exemplar machines were offered for sale by HP for some time, and Exemplar technology was used in HP's V-Class machines.

The Convex C machines took a Cray-like approach, a vector/parallel system with vector registers. As they were much more cost sensitive than Cray Research, however, Convex were less aggressive with chip technology and accepted a slower cycle time. They reduced the memory bandwidth available to each processor to the equivalent of one operand per cycle, as opposed to 2 or 3 for a Cray. To compensate, the vector registers were longer than those of a Cray, 128 64-bit elements as opposed to 64 elements for the Cray, and Convex invested heavily in automatic vectorization techniques.

The C1 was a uniprocessor vector machine that appeared in 1985. The C2 was a crossbar-interconnected multiprocessor. Scaling to 4 CPUs, that was launched in 1988. The C3 was announced in 1991, and had essentially the same architecture as the C2, albeit with a faster clock, and support for up to 8 CPUs. Memory bandwidth was becoming an increasing liability at this point, and two successor projects were undertaken in parallel. The C4 was an evolutionary enhancement of the GaAs vector/parallel design, while the Exemplar scrapped the approach altogether in favor of "off-the-shelf" CPUs in a distributed shared memory configuration based on SCI.

This promotional folder contains:

The Convex C Series
Convex Corporate Profile
Convex software
Parallel Processing

Data Sheets include: 
Vector C Compiler
C210-C240 Processors


Date : 1988

Creator : Convex

This exhibit has a reference ID of CH19591. Please quote this reference ID in any communication with the Centre for Computing History.

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