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The DEC 7000 service was launched at the end of 1992 as one of the services that would gradually take over the scientific 'scalar' (ie 'non-supercomputing') workload from the IBM 3090. It was a three-processor shared memory system using DEC's recently announced 64-bit Alpha RISC chip, and it ran the OpenVMS operating system. The processor cycle time was 5 nsec, which was faster than the Cray Y-MP's 6 nsec but lacking the Y-MP's elaborate vector processing architecture. On average the performance of one of the DEC processors was about three times the performance of an IBM 3090 processor, with variations from code to code.
The service was available to users funded by any of the Boards of SERC through the same peer review arrangements as for the IBM service, and to other users on a payment basis. In practice the largest user was particle physics.