The Desk Area Network (DAN) is a multimedia workstation based around an ATM interconnect (as shown in the above diagram). All communication between peripherals and even between the CPU and its main memory is achieved by sending ATM cells through a switch fabric. A prototype implementation based on the Fairisle switch fabric has been built and is being used to investigate the architecture.
The initial paper on the Desk Area Network by Mark Hayter and Derek McAuley can be seen by clicking here. Also Mark Hayter's thesis provides a good overview of the current Cambridge ATM environment, including the current status of the DAN.
Two other papers have been written describing aspects of the DAN, the first entitled Devices on the Desk Area Network and the second Multimedia Streams and the CPU Cache. Documents from the Blue Book describing the DAN hardware are The MDH9 Processor Node and The ATM Camera V2 (AVA200). Other devices on the DAN are implemented using Fairisle Port Controllers.