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USENIX Windows NT Workshop, 1997

DIGITAL FX!32 Running 32-Bit x86 Applications on Alpha NT

Anton Chernoff, Ray Hookway
Digital Equipment Corporation


DIGITAL FX!32 is a unique combination of emulation and binary translation which makes it so that any 32-bit program that runs on an x86 system running Windows NT 4.0 will install and run on an Alpha Windows NT 4.0 system. After translation, x86 applications run as fast under DIGITAL FX!32 on a 500Mz Alpha system as on a 200Mz Pentium-Pro.

The emulator and its associated runtime provide for transparent execution of x86 applications. The emulator uses translation results when they are available and produces profile data for use by the translator. The translator provides native Alpha code for the portions of an x86 application which have been previously executed. A server manages the translation process for the user, making the overall process completely transparent.

This paper focuses on the ways in which DIGITAL FX!32 achieves its transparency when running on an unmodified NT system.

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