Eden Node Machine, 1982

The University of Washington's "Eden Project," led by Jerre Noe, received the first award in the National Science Foundation's Coordinated Experimental Research Program, from 1980-1985.

The Eden Project built a functioning "integrated distributed system" -- referred to in the proposal as a "building-sized computer" -- based upon a generalization of Hydra's object model.

Although the Eden system ultimately ran on a network of VAX-11/750s, five personal workstations ("Eden Node Machines") were built by the project in 1982. The Eden Node Machines used Intel iAPX-432 processors. They included monochrome bitmap displays. And real furniture-grade oiled wood monitor and keyboard cases, which were cheaper than steel in small quantities! The Eden Node Machine team was headed by John Bennett, then a graduate student at UW and now a faculty member at Rice University. Susan St. John, another graduate student on the team, is pictured here.

Eden was the first of five object-oriented systems built at the University of Washington. Emerald, also intended for networks of uniprocessors, cleaned up the Eden object model, solved a number of performance problems, and provided fine-grain mobility. Presto provided high performance support for parallel programs running on shared-memory multiprocessors. (A Sequent was the hardware base.) Amber generalized Presto to networks of multiprocessors (specifically DEC SRC Firefly personal multiprocessor workstations). Most recently, Opal exploits wide-address architectures to provide a new, flexible approach to sharing and protection.