Cosm History (short version)
by Adam L. Beberg
Genesis - Mid 1995
Cosm solidifies, at the time it begins it's life as an OS design based on a microkernel design with strong influences from such OS's as Mach and QNX, but quickly turns into a distributed OS. After I figured out that writing an OS is pointless, I designed a layer to sit on any OS, and build a distributed system on that. The goal being that this layer could easily be ported to any OS and CPU, thus porting the systems built on top of it. Many hours and late nights were spent designing and talking with my IIT.edu buddies about Cosm and the uses for it. (the good old days)
May 8, 1997
Cosm started what turned into a 2 year detour when I run into a bunch of people on IRC working on the RC5-56 contest. I ended up getting very involved and on May 8th founded distributed.net. I designed the v2 clients, a project-wide hourly stats system, and the web site, all of which were eventually turned over to others to run.
October 23, 1997
I started promoting and pushing Cosm a.k.a. "v3" publicly, but there is very little support. As distributed.net became DCTI, things ground to a halt both with DCTI and Cosm. After a time of dispair, I began pushing on with a few people that understood the goal. Eventually it became clear, even after sharing detailed plans and design docs with the rest of the DCTI board, that Cosm would not happen within DCTI.
March 30, 1999
The Cosm web site went up, and plans were publicly unveiled. After this point progress on Cosm became fairly rapid again.
April 22, 1999
I officially parted company with DCTI and all traces of my work and participation were promptly erased from existence.
I met Vijay Pande who was doing protein folding research at Stanford. The result was a collaboration using Cosm and the CS-SDK to build Folding@home. It eventually peaked around 500,000 machines.
From then on the history is detailed on the Cosm web site. Numerous other projects have sprung up doing projects similar to distributed.net and Cosm. It's fun being a pioneer in bringing a 30 year old field of research into the mainstream, and sometimes flattering to be copied. There is also a lighter, longer, and funnier unhistory version.
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