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Communications of the ACM

Communications of the ACM

Performing remote operations efficiently on a local computer network

A communication model is described that can serve as a basis for a highly efficient communication subsystem for local networks. The model contains a taxonomy of communication instructions that can be implemented efficiently and can be a good basis for interprocessor communication. These communication instructions, called remote references, cause an operation to be performed by a remote process and, optionally, cause a value to be returned. This paper also presents implementation considerations for a communication system based upon the model and describes an experimental communication subsystem that provides one class of remote references. These remote references take about 150 microseconds or 50 average instruction times to perform on Xerox Alto computers connected by a 2.94 megabit Ethernet.

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