Abstract CAM is a high-performance machine dedicated to the simulation of cellular automata and other distributed dynamical systems. Its speed is about one-thousand times greater than that of a general-purpose computer programmed to do the same task; in practical terms, this means that CAM can show the evolution of cellular automata on a color monitor with an update rate, dynamic range, and spatial resolution comparable to those of a Super-8 movie, thus permitting intensive interactive experimentation. Machines of this kind can open up novel fields of research, and in this context it is important that results be easy to obtain, reproduce, and transmit. For these reasons, in designing CAM it was important to achieve functional simplicity, high flexibility, and moderate production cost. We expect that many research groups will be able to own their own copy of the machine to do research with.