Fujitsu VP

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The FACOM VP is a series of vector supercomputers designed, manufactured, and marketed by Fujitsu. Announced in July 1982, the FACOM VP were the first of the three initial Japanese commercial supercomputers, followed by the Hitachi HITAC S-810 in August 1982 and the NEC SX-2 in April 1983. The FACOM VP were sold until they were replaced by the VP2000 family in 1990. Developed with funding from the Ministry of International Trade and Industry, the FACOM VP was part of an effort designed to wrest control of the supercomputer market from the collection of small US-based companies like Cray Research. The FACOM VP was marketed in Japan by Fujitsu, where the majority of installations were located. Amdahl marketed the systems in the US and Siemens in Europe. The ending of the cold war during this period made the market for supercomputers dry up almost overnight, and the Japanese firms decided that their mass-production capabilities were better spent elsewhere.

Fujitsu had built a prototype vector co-processor known as the F230-75, which was installed attached to their own mainframe machines in the Japanese Atomic Energy Commission and National Aerospace Laboratory in 1977. The processor was similar in most ways to the famed Cray-1, but did not have vector chaining capabilities and was therefore somewhat slower. Nevertheless the machines were rather inexpensive, and during the late 1970s supercomputers were seen as a source of national pride, and an effort started to commercialize...
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