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The Honeywell Experimental Distributed Processor (HXDP) is a vehicle for research in the science and engineering of processor interconnection, executive control, and user software for a certain class of multiple-processor computers which we call "distributed computer" systems. Such systems are very unconventional in that they accomplish total system-wide executive control in the absence of any centralized procedure, data, or hardware. The primary benefits sought by this research are improvements over more conventional architectures (such as multiprocessors and computer networks) in extensibility, integrity, and performance. A fundamental thesis of the HXDP project is that the benefits and cost-effectiveness of distributed computer systems depend on the judicious use of hardware to control software costs.