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Project Athena™ was an educational computing initiative at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, undertaken in partnership with the IBM Corporation and Digital Equipment Corporation from 1983 to 1991. This paper gives an overview of the network-based distributed computing services, developed for a number of UNIX™-capable workstations. These services are extensions to the native operating systems of the workstations, and provide interoperability as well as systems administration facilities in a large heterogeneous workstation environment. Under Project Athena, a mature distributed computing environment was developed. Its organization and support structure may be used as a model when planning a new installation, whether on a university or commercial campus. A section of this paper deals with the support requirements for distributed computing environments, based on the Project Athena experience.
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