This page is dedicated to an overview of the parallel and distributed processing techniques and applications with the purpose of providing an understanding of what the techniques are and how they were arrived at. In a nutshell, the concept of distributed processing involves the harnessing of the power of a group of computers that are linked together and run as one under the guidance of a distributed program designed for such a task. The processing power of many computers is vastly greater than that of a single unit and the limits are as yet unknown as ever larger systems are created and employed.
While much work has been completed to date on several fronts, there is still much to be done in this field. This requires constant planning and organizing that is made possible by the dedication of the people who are involved in the many projects devised and in operation for this purpose. Programs are continually upgraded and improved to cope with ever larger networks of computer processors and form the heart of any such application.
Processing on many levels continues at a variety of levels and can be found in may types of application running similar programs. There are many comparable items that can be found here: www.tvaf.org, although the applications are a little different, yet the end result is similar. The reality is that wherever one cares to look, there are excellent examples of just this kind of solution waiting to be discovered.
So far, progressive annual conferences on such processing have brought together many top computing and programming experts in their fields as this on-going project continues to gather momentum and usefulness. In the early days, the main platform for such a distributed network wold have been Unix, although many tests were undertaken on a variety of systems such as IBM, Tandem and Burroughs mainframes. The advent of smaller, "personal" computers provided the way forward with ever more processing power in smaller units that were much easier to link using Ethernet technology. As bandwidth increases, what was once an office-wide distributed system is now more commonly seen on world-wide networks using a variety of compatible platforms.
Where Will It All Go?
There is little doubt that the scope of such a project is almost limitless as greater processing power is crammed into ever smaller spaces and with the growing world-wide need for faster communications. Networks will continue to grow, with the only thing really holding the process in check being the programming design (here is one example: www.cphd.org) and architecture side of the applications.
When there is a rush of energy directed toward a certain goal, some amazing results will often follow closely behind. When programmers wind down for some well earned leisure time, you can often find them enjoying some off the wall activities such as frisbee throwing as seen at flindersfury in the local park or recreation ground, or there are those that enjoy some beach volleyball in the sunshine. You can rarely tell these people having fun are just letting off steam that builds up from a hard day's programming!
It has often been remarked that no matter how powerful personal computers seem to get, they never run any faster! This is because the operating systems are continually upgraded to work with the additional processing and memory that becomes available. Rather than trying to maximize this asset, programmers simply fill all the empty spaces with more programmable processing so that in reality, the systems can never run any faster with each programmatic upgrade matching pace with hardware advances.
"You'd think someone might have noticed by now..." one expert was overheard to have mentioned to a colleague at one recent conference!