The PVM project began in the summer of 1989 at Oak Ridge National Laboratory. The prototype system, PVM 1.0, was constructed by Vaidy Sunderam and Al Geist; this version of the system was used internally at the Lab and was not released to the outside. Version 2 of PVM was written at the University of Tennessee and released in March 1991. During the following year, PVM began to be used in many scientific applications. After user feedback and a number of changes (PVM 2.1 - 2.4), a complete rewrite was undertaken, and version 3 was completed in February 1993. It is PVM version 3.3 that we describe in this book (and refer to simply as PVM). The PVM software has been distributed freely and is being used in computational applications around the world.