Parallel Virtual Machine (PVM) is a program that enables distributed computing among networked computers on different platforms, so that they can perform as a single, large unit for computer-intensive applications. The software can be run on most Unix-based or Windows systems. According to the official Web site, PVM is the de facto standard, world-wide, for distributed computing. PVM source code is freely available.
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PVM was created at the Oak Ridge National Laboratory in 1989 and was rewritten in 1991 at the University of Tennessee. Newer versions developed since that time offer improved portability and fault tolerance.
The PVM package has become popular for teaching computer science and programming students how distributed computing and parallel processing work. The software has been used extensively to solve problems in science, medicine, technology and engineering that have proven too complex for individual computers. PVM also enables a level of computational accuracy beyond the ability of a single computer.