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  • NEC Provides Remote Supercomputer Service for U.S. Users
  • April 21, 1998 (TOKYO) -- NEC Corp. launched a remote calculation service that allows U.S. and other overseas clients to access one of its supercomputers in Japan via the Internet.
    The NEC SX-4/32 supercomputer went online on April 15 at the company's Fuchu, Tokyo plant.

    The service is a countermeasure to the verdict by the U.S. Court of International Trade (CIT) on Aug. 20, 1997 that in essence prohibited NEC's sale of SX-4 supercomputers to American government agencies.

    Cray Research Inc. filed the first suit against NEC with the Department of Commerce in 1996. Cray accused NEC of dumping its SX-4 supercomputer at a very low price in a bid to the University Corporation for Atmospheric Circuit.

    In response to Cray's complaint, NEC filed a suit with the CIT against the Department of Commerce asking it to suspend the dumping investigation or change the investigator and retry the case under a new and neutral third-party investigator.

    Despite NEC's legal action, the CIT dismissed the case on Aug. 20, 1997. NEC received a punitive tariff of 454 percent (equivalent to the provisional amount set by the Department of Commerce). This rate is to be applied to the unit price of every vector type of supercomputer, including the SX-4, that NEC sells into the United States.

    With NEC's launch of the remote service, researchers in American government agencies will be able to use the SX-4 without infringing on the court's ruling. NEC also provides the service to users, other than American government agencies, who need SX-4 performance. The service rate is US$100 per processor per hour.

    The machine selected for the service is configured with 32 processors. The supercomputer has a main memory capacity of 8GB and maximum logic operation capability of 64GFLOPS. It runs SUPER-UX, a UNIX-based operating system for supercomputers, and also can run utilities such as FORTRAN and C compilers, tools and libraries for science and technology calculations.

    Clients can use the SX-4 as if it were installed on their own premises by simply connecting with the Internet and logging remotely into the supercomputer.

    After the users establish a point-to-point link via an IP address, the SX-4 then performs user authentication with the user's name and password. The SX-4 also can protect data transmissions with encryption.

    The rate for consulting services is in another system. It will be managed by local subsidiaries of NEC in the United States and Europe, including U.S.-based HNSX Supercomputers Inc.

    Contracts for service will be made according to each service item.

    NEC also will investigate the contents of calculations and reject applications related to national security, such as arms development.

    At first the remote service will be offered only to overseas users, but NEC plans to open it to domestic users.

    More information is available in English at: http://www.ne c.co.jp/english/today/newsrel/9804/1501.html

    (Hi-Tech News Center)


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    Updated: Mon Apr 20 12:02:26 1998