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Alpha 21164
  2 Gflops (2 nodes)
  Super-Scalar RISC
  Two Level Cache
  512 Mbytes RAM
 
  Programmed in C
  SAM Executive
  Real-Time Kernel
  Fast SAMNET Link
 
 
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 Vector Processor
 TM-66 DSP Chip
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Documentation
 


         
AX2 Scalar Processor
The AX2 scalar processor is designed to execute C programs quickly. DEC Alpha 21164 (500 MHz) chips provide the processing power for the AX2. The 21164 has a super-scalar design capable of executing four instructions every clock cycle, and supports both single and double precision floating-point arithmetic. Each AX2 board features two independent execution nodes for a total of 2 Gflops of processing power. Each node includes an Alpha 21164 chip, 256 Mbytes RAM, a fast DMA link to SAM memory, and a SAMNET connection. A single master AX2 node runs the main application program and the SAM Executive. Other SAM embedded processors and I/O devices can be controlled via simple AX2 subroutine calls.
 
AX2 Applications
The primary application for the AX2 is as a programmable controller for multiple S4 nodes.  Built-in real-time executive features provide fast, low-overhead, parallel S4 node control.  The AX2 scalar processor also excels at scalar and control algorithms and is fast enough to handle high bandwidth real-time processing. Good examples include graphics processing, image processing, multi-dimensional processing, finite element analysis, and simulation. The SAM Executive provides a low overhead run-time environment for the AX2, so intense real-time I/O control and processing is easily accomplished. The AX2 can continuously control, synchronize, and process fast acquisition or playback data streams in real-time.
   
AX2 Software
Programming the AX2 processor is just like programming a general-purpose workstation. A specially optimized GNU C cross-compiler executes on the host computer to generate AX2 executable modules. These modules, along with utilities and the runtime library, are loaded and executed under supervision of the host computer. The SAM Executive supplies the necessary operating system functions. Without the overhead incurred by a sophisticated operating system and virtual memory, the AX2 becomes a lean and mean processing machine.
 

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