Computer multinational Compaq and Spain's Polytechnic University of Catalonia are to set up a centre in Barcelona to design microprocessors.
The new research laboratory, known as Barcelona Systems and Servers Advanced Development, will be one of five of its kind in the world and will be the first to involve a university, according to Antoni Juan, lecturer in computer architecture at the university.
The team, lead by Dr Juan and colleague Roger Espasa, will work on a new version of the Alpha family of microchips. "We are designing a possible option for the sixth generation chips due to come out in 2006," Dr Juan said.
Alpha microchips are used in large databases, servers and intranets, e-commerce applications and numerical computations as well as in applications for genetic research in proteomics and decoding the genome.
The Spanish team aims to come up with a prototype with ten times more computing power than the processors used in the average desktop computer. The centre will also provide training for students from the university and services to business.
"It is a great chance to do work that until now has been done only in the United States," Dr Juan said.
"We will get access to cutting-edge technology and be able to train people better in micro-computing."