Please note: This previously published IBM Journal of Research and Development paper was reprinted for this special retrospective issue.
This paper provides an overview of an experimental system developed at the IBM Thomas J. Watson Research Center. It consists of a running hardware prototype, a control program, and an optimizing compiler. The basic concepts underlying the system are discussed, as are the performance characteristics of the prototype. In particular, three principles are examined: (1) system orientation towards the pervasive use of high-level language programming and a sophisticated compiler, (2) a primitive instruction set which can be completely hard-wired, and (3) storage hierarchy and I/O organization to enable the CPU to execute an instruction at almost every cycle.