A general purpose neurocomputer, SYNAPSE-1, which exhibits a multiprocessor and memory architecture is presented. It offers wide flexibility with respect to neural algorithms and a speed-up factor of several orders of magnitude--including learning. The computational power is provided by a 2-dimensional systolic array of neural signal processors. Since the weights are stored outside these NSPs, memory size and processing power can be adapted individually to the application needs. A neural algorithms programming language, embedded in C(+2) has been defined for the user to cope with the neurocomputer. In a benchmark test, the prototype of SYNAPSE-1 was 8000 times as fast as a standard workstation.