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A Virtual Multicomputer for Symbolic Applications

VIM is a network project under the EC's Human Capital and Mobility programme. The network brings together 15 partners researching in three areas: parallel and distributed systems, compilation for parallel execution and artificial intelligence. The goal is to develop AI applications to run on distributed architectures and across local and wide-area networks.

The three topics which bind this network together are parallel systems, advanced compilation techniques and artificial intelligence (AI) with a common substrate in the programming language Lisp. The research aim of this project is to demonstrate the advantages accruing from the combination of these three technologies.

There is also an educational aim: since these three areas are fundamental to future software developments, two workshops aimed at postgraduates-as well as at widening the expertise of the partners-will be held, one on parallel programming and compilation and another on artificial intelligence.

Both of these aims will be supported by a concrete output from the network, namely a public domain implementation of a parallel symbolic processing environment for at least a collection of Unix workstations and Unix shared-memory multiprocessors. Other outputs will be tools for monitoring the behaviour of parallel programs, for analyzing parallel programs statically, specialized compilers, applications in artificial intelligence and publications.

While research within each of the above mentioned topics will continue with collaboration between the interested partners, a point of the constitution of this network is that it permits the construction of feedback loops between system and application, compiler and application and between all three.