Nasdaq prepares for billion-share dayWith its selection of...


August 23, 1993|By Steve Auerweck | Steve Auerweck,Staff Writer

Nasdaq prepares for billion-share day

With its selection of MCI Communications Corp. to build and manage a new nationwide communications network over the next six years, the Nasdaq Stock Market is preparing to handle its first billion-share day.

Nasdaq Telecommunications Director Robert I. Bloom said last week that the exchange will be replacing a "home-grown" network that uses AT&T trunk lines and voice-grade lines to the traders' computers with an all-digital, high-speed network.

The new setup will include DS-3 links that can carry 45 million bits of information per second, and 56,000 bps links to the new, PC-based workstations.

While a busy Nasdaq day now might see 300 million shares traded, it would not be difficult to scale up to handle a billion shares using "switched multimegabit data service," Mr. Bloom said.

"The concept is bandwidth on demand," he said. "Traffic can spill over" into MCI's public data network.

The Washington-based exchange has data centers in Rockville and in Trumbull, Conn. Trumbull is the primary center, but both will handle data during normal operations, and Rockville is designated as the disaster recovery site.

Naval researchers on call for businesses

Maryland businesses in need of technological insight now have the opportunity to draw on the big guns at the Naval Research Laboratory.

The laboratory signed an agreement last week to lend guidance to companies through the Technology Extension Service (TES) at the University of Maryland College Park.

TES Director W. Travis Walton said that unlike many other federal "technology transfer" efforts, which publish news briefs, say, or distribute patent information, the naval lab will provide direct access to its staff experts.

"Technology resides in the minds of skilled people," Mr. Walton said.

The naval lab has special skills in advanced materials, biomolecular science, electronics, optics and sensors, the TES said.

"University research tends to be narrow," Mr. Walton said. "Federal labs often have a whole team of people working in an area of technology."

The TES has a team of seven field engineers serving five regions in the state, Mr. Walton said. Businesses that need help with technology can call a statewide number, (800) 245-5810, for help.

Essex awarded funds for ImSyn development

Columbia-based Essex Corp. has received $388,000 in defense-related funding to develop applications for its patented ImSyn image-processing system.

Under an Air Force Small Business Innovative Research grant, will examine ways to apply the "optoelectronic" process -- which involves manipulating hundreds of thousands of parallel light beams -- to matching up unknown radar or video images with a data base.

For the military, an obvious application could be target recognition.

"ImSyn can run through your catalog very fast," Harry Letaw Jr., chairman and chief executive officer of Essex, said last week. "You can very easily rotate and zoom on an unknown image, or your image base, so you can get awfully close to a match."

The Defense Department also awarded Essex two contracts for developing ImSyn to enhance radar processing.

And the company announced $700,000 in additional funding on a contract it won from the Army in 1991 to work on an imaging system.

Essex has not yet found a venture capital or development partner for ImSyn, Dr. Letaw said; it had said in February that it was seeking new sources of capital.

PAI Corp. teams up with TRW division

In Annapolis, Pacific Animated Imaging Corp. got a boost last week when it signed a "teaming agreement" with the Command Support Division of TRW Inc.

Pacific Animated produces animated, computer-based training software. Under the pact, it will both create material under contract with TRW and have the opportunity to bid on training contracts as a companion to TRW's proposals.

"They go after the $100 million-plus bids," Pacific Animated Vice President Robert Thurman said. "The portion we address is becoming increasingly important in their kind of systems," primarily for the Defense Department and other federal agencies.

TRW Command Support Division is a division of TRW Systems Integration Group, which is headquartered in Fairfax, Va.

About 3,000 of the group's 7,000 employees are in the District of Columbia, Prince George's and Montgomery counties, and Northern Virginia.

Smarter bulbs and better chips

Toys of the week:

* Cyrix Corp. announced a line of single-chip Upgrade microprocessors that can replace the 80386-DX chips in older computers, providing 486 performance. Prices range from $299 to $399.

* Philips Lighting Co. has created "smart" light bulbs. One has a built-in dimmer, another turns itself off after 30 minutes.

* Sprint Corp. and Wayfinder Inc. are installing a system in the Orlando, Fla., area that will read computer-generated directions to a driver at a pay phone.

No more embarrassing gas station stops.

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