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The paper describes initial findings regarding the performance tradeoffs between cluster computing where the participating processors are independent machines connected by a high speed switch and desktop multiprocessing where the processors reside within a single workstation and share a common memory. While interprocessor communication time has typically been cited as the limiting force on performance in the cluster, bus and memory contention have had similar effects in shared memory systems. The advent of high speed interconnects and improved bus and memory access speeds have enhanced the performance curves of both platforms. We present comparisons of the execution times of three applications with varying levels of data dependencies-numerical integration, matrix multiplication, and Jacobi iteration across three environments: the PVM distributed memory model, the PVM shared memory model, and the Solaris threads package.