Torrent Systems

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Torrent Systems
SuccessorAscential Software
Cambridge, MA[1]
Key people
Robert Utzschneider
Number of employees

Torrent Systems, originally named Applied Parallel Technologies (APT), was a parallel computing software company founded in 1993 by Rob Utzschneider and Edward Zyszkowski. Torrent is a success story for the NIST Advanced Technology Program,[1] which provided much of the company's initial funding.


The company's product was a parallel flow-based programming system called Orchestrate. The product enabled users to assemble a program using predefined components (called operators) connected by virtual datasets in a manner similar to Unix pipelines. Here is a simple example:

  -records 50
  -schema record (recNum:    int32;
                  firstName: string[max=20];
                  lastName:  string[max=30];)
  -name -all

This script contains two operators: the generator operator (which creates test data) and the peek operator, which displayes the contents of the records it receives. The generator will create 50 records, each with three fields; the peek operator will display their contents.

Torrent was acquired by Ascential Software in late 2001[2] for about $46 million; Orchestrate became a key part of Ascential's DataStage data integration system. When Ascential was subsequently acquired by IBM in mid-2005, DataStage became part of IBM's Information Server product. The Torrent technology lives on as the Parallel Engine that underpins IBM Information Server highly scalable architecture.


  1. ^ a b "Performance of 50 Completed ATP Projects Status Report - Number 2 NIST SP 950-2". National Institute of Standards and Technology. Retrieved 28 March 2011.
  2. ^ Whiting, Rick. "Ascential Buys Torrent Systems, InformationWeek, November 28, 2001". UBM Webtech. Retrieved 28 March 2011.