It is designed to allow a network of heterogeneous machines to be used as a single distributed parallel processor.

PVM was developed by the University of Tennessee, Oak Ridge National Laboratory and Emory University.

The first version was written at ORNL in 1989, and after being rewritten by University of Tennessee, version 2 was released in March 1991. Version 3 was released in March 1993, and supported fault tolerance and better portability.

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