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Les Earnest would possibly claim the earliest roots might have been the IBM SAGE air defense system. It had to move command and control during time of war, but it’s doubtful that IBM ever applied any of that work toward IBM SNA products.
After that came heterogeneity from the ARPAnet, but no distributed file systems just yet. The next step came in the 1980s at CMU with the Cm* multiprocessor which had 2 different operating systems: StarOS by Anita Jones which didn’t appear to go anywhere and Medusa by John Ousterhout which did inspire people at MIT, Wisconsin, and many other places to do experiments in distributed file systems like Athena, CMU’s Andrew system, etc. And there were industrial efforts at PARC (Grapevine), and IBM.
I forgot (based on an old discussion I had with Chris Kemp), I should not that there are a number of programming tools and ideas. Among these are Map-Reduce, Hadoop, probably should include Rocks. Most of the above was merely storage.
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