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The K2 project aims to develop a distributed memory parallel processor (DMPP) that exploits the benefits of this class of machines, but appears to the user - and can be programmed and debugged - much like a conventional uniprocessor. To this end, we have concentrated our efforts on the development of an automatically parallelizing compiler and a multi-user, multi-tasking, time-sharing operating system. However, supporting the above features on commercially available DMPPs would have been either impossible or too expensive. For this reason, a workbench machine has been designed and is currently being implemented. In what follows we present the machine architecture, the parallelizing compiler, and the operating system.