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TI Japan is prototyping a continuous-speech recognition system the size of a credit card. The software-reconfigurable firmware includes an A/D converter, TMS-320C30 DSP, and 2MB DRAM (soon 4MB). Alternative speech recognition algorithms will be tested. [John K. Myers ([email protected]), 2/25.] (John will be returning from ATR soon for US work in speech recognition and VR.)

Japan's ATR is attaching up to 141GB of RAID 7 storage _per console_ for an advanced Unix teleconferencing environment with 3D images. [Mass High Tech. Michael.W[email protected], comp.research.japan. Bill Park, 2/25.]

Texas Instruments, Motorola, and Du Pont are joining the $200M, 10-year MITI nanotechnology project. [Inside R&D. Anthony S. Napier ([email protected]), sci.nanotech. Bill Park.]

Sun Microsystems has formed FirstPerson Inc. to develop personal communicators and data-exchange software, competing with General Magic and IBM. Wayne Rosing is president. [WSJ, 3/2. Tim Finin.]

Silicon Graphics has cut its IRIS Indigo R3000 graphics workstation from $8K to $6,995. [PR Newswire, 2/15. Tim Finin.]

Silicon Graphics' library of parallelized science and engineering applications is now larger than any other company's. [Forest Baskett, Sr. VP of R&D. HPC Select News, 2/4.]

ParcPlace Systems, Inc. has added support for OS/2 ($3K) and Solaris ($5K) to its VisualWorks Smalltalk application development environment. VisualWorks also supports Windows 3.1, Mac, and many Unix implementations, making Smalltalk a good cross-platform choice. [CW, 3/1, p. 6.] Critics say that Smalltalk is too bulky and slow; supporters say that ease of development is more important than the runtime efficiency of C++. [Jeffrey Bonar, CW, 2/22, p. 32.]

DEC's Alpha chip has about the same processing power as the CRAY-1 sold in 1976 for $7.5M. [Guinness Book of Records, "FASTEST CHIP." Paul Wisner ([email protected]), 2/93. Bill Park.]

It's been rumored that Intel's Pentium can execute an infinite loop in 2.3 seconds. [Kirk Keller.] This requires throwing the device into a black hole, as time to reach the hole may appear infinite to the computer and finite to outside observers. Getting intermediate results back will be a problem. [[email protected], PACS-L, 3/1.]