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The continuing trend in 1984 toward bigger, faster, and more powerful minis and mainframes is examined. It is noted that the advances in superminis have generally been typified not by major breakthroughs, but rather by designs that push existing technology to its limits. Such designs have capitalized on packaging advances, along with denser integrated circuits, to let computer designers cram more high-speed circuits into the same space. In addition to the performance gains made by general-purpose mainframes, special-purpose machines called array processors have made significant advances in handling large amounts of numeric data. In some cases such array processors can now perform almost as well as full-fledged supercomputers, but they cost much less. Progress was also made during the year in specialized computer architectures, owing to the increasing availability of tools for system design based on very large-scale integration.
Date of Publication: Jan. 1985