Alpha is both a microprocessor and the name of a computer system from the Digital Equipment Corporation (DEC), which is now part of Compaq. The Alpha processor uses a newer and more advanced architecture than DEC's flagship computer line, the VAX . The Alpha is based on reduced instruction set computer (reduced instruction set computing) architecture and handles 64 bits at a time. DEC has added its own refinements to the RISC architecture to further increase performance.
The latest models of DEC's Alpha computer systems are offered with either DEC's UNIX operating system or with Windows NT . (DECUS states that DEC's OpenVMS also runs on Alpha computers.) DEC offers its AlphaServer together with a packaged solution with Digital's AltaVista search engine for indexing and searching data within an enterprise's intranet . Its AlphaStation line offers personal workstations in the $4-8,000 range.