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Here it says the CDC 6600 had a distributed architecture.

It had a distributed architecture (central scientific processor supported by ten very fast peripheral machines)

Can anyone elaborate on what this means? Why would they have separate computers instead of putting more resources into one, wouldn't this be less efficient because of the over head involved? How is this different than cluster computing? Was the basic idea to divide work up between several computers? Then how come there was a central one?

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As I recall the peripheral machines did communications I/O. We had a CDC machine in Tucson at the UofA and there were hubs located in various buildings hooked up to to it. Like for example in the basement of the chemistry building there were some card punches and a card reader and printer. When you think about it it takes a fair amount of computing power to do i/o, especially when your main machine is not all that fast. Wish I could tell you more but I was still a bit wet behind the ears back then.

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