Department of Computer Science and Technology

Technical reports

A workstation architecture to support multimedia

Mark David Hayter

November 1993, 99 pages

This technical report is based on a dissertation submitted September 1993 by the author for the degree of Doctor of Philosophy to the University of Cambridge, St John’s College.

DOI: 10.48456/tr-319


The advent of high speed networks in the wide and local area enables multimedia traffic to be easily carried between workstation class machines. The dissertation considers an architecture for a workstation to support such traffic effectively. In addition to presenting the information to a human user the architecture allows processing to be done on continuous media streams.

The proposed workstation architecture, known as the Desk Area Network (DAN), extends ideas from Asynchronous Transfer Mode (ATM) networks into the end-system. All processors and devices are connected to an ATM interconnect. The architecture is shown to be capable of supporting both multimedia data streams and more traditional CPU cache line traffic. The advocated extension of the CPU cache which allows caching of multimedia data streams is shown to provide a natural programming abstraction and a mechanism for synchronising the processor with the stream.

A prototype DAN workstation has been built. Experiments have been done to demonstrate the features of the architecture. In particular the use of the DAN as a processor-to-memory interconnect is closely studied to show the practicality of using ATM for cache line traffic in a real machine. Simple demonstrations of the stream cache ideas are used to show its utility in future applications.

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BibTeX record

  author =	 {Hayter, Mark David},
  title = 	 {{A workstation architecture to support multimedia}},
  year = 	 1993,
  month = 	 nov,
  url = 	 {},
  institution =  {University of Cambridge, Computer Laboratory},
  doi = 	 {10.48456/tr-319},
  number = 	 {UCAM-CL-TR-319}