Computers: Letting 1,000 Flowers Bloom

The Connection Machine takes a novel approach to computing

With its black-tinted panels and pulsing red indicator lights, it bears a striking resemblance to Joshua, the fictional computer that plays chess and thermonuclear war in the movie WarGames. But this is the real thing. Inside a 5-ft. Lexon plastic cube is a powerful new computer called the Connection Machine, which not only looks different from most mainframes, it is different.

In its recent public debut, the first production model made short work of a series of knotty problems that would have tied up an ordinary computer for hours. It scanned three months of Reuters news stories--16,000 articles in all --in...

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