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The DEC 3000 service was launched in 1993 to provide a Unix option among the services that would gradually take over the scientific 'scalar' (ie 'non-supercomputing') workload from the IBM 3090. It was based on a farm of five DEC 3000 model 400 Alpha workstsations which used a 133 MHz version of the DEC's 64-bit Alpha RISC processing chip and had roughly twice the power of an IBM 3090 processor. The machines were interconnected by FDDI networking, each had 2 GB of disk, four of the machines had 64 MB memories and the fifth had 256 MB to handle larger memory jobs. The operating system was DEC's version of the Open Software Foundation's OSF/1, and Parallel Virtual Machine (PVM) message passing software enabled single applications to run across multiple processors.
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.