Parallel and Distributed Computing Practices (PDCP) Journal, June 1999 (Vol 2, No. 2), Nova Science Publishers, USA.
The history of computing has always also been a history of hunting for higher performance. Until recently it was accepted that to go beyond the current sweet spot in terms of performance per money of available machines, it was required to invest. In fact, to invest enormously. While dedicated high end machines still have their place, and probably always will, the construction of special machines close to the top and that of clusters of less dramatic machines co-evolved to something quite comparable. As a result, engineering sparks could bridge the gab and we now find high-performance system area and even local area networks that derive from the backbone communication infrastructure of massively parallel supercomputers.
Being faced with the possibility to assemble ones own supercomputer out of off-the-shelf components, such as high-end PCs, changed the performance scene markedly. The hardware substrate for modest to impressive supercomputing equipment is now suddenly ubiquitiously available. As a result, not surprisingly, the parallel computing are attracted a boost of attention. Also not surprisingly, there is a desire to reduce the traditional reliance on a select few who intimately understood the inner workings of the latest generation supercomputers to really make them fly. Finally, there is often a need to share the computing infrastructure between virtual supercomputers and the more mundane everyday use of the `borrowed' workstations. Methodology and software infrastructure need to be almost reinvented to properly address all the new challenges -- but without losing what has been learnt in the past.
This special issue of PDCP suggests that there are a lot of activities on the way indeed. As a result, the editors had great difficulty selecting papers out of the overwhelmingly large number of submissions. The selected articles both demonstrate diversity and quality of this still relatively young field.
We would like to express our deep gratitude to Prof. Marcin Paprzycki, Editor-in-chief of PDCP for giving us an opportunity to Guest-Edit this special issue. This issue would not be possible without the help of referees (listed below) who worked very hard to review all the submitted papers. We would like to thank them all.
We hope you will find this special issue interesting.
Associate Professor, School of Computing Science
Queensland University of Technology
 R. Buyya (editor). High Performance Cluster Computing: Programming and Applications. Vol. 2, 1/e, Prentice Hall PTR, NJ, 1999.
 R. Buyya and M. Paprzycki. Special Issue on Parallel Computing on Networks of Computers. Informatica: An International Journal of Computing and Informatics, Vol 23, No. 1, 1999.
 G. Pfister. In Search of Clusters. 2/e, Prentice Hall PTR, NJ, 1998.
 T. Sterling, J. Salmon, D. Becker, and D. Savarrese. How to Build a Beowulf. The MIT Press, 1999.
 B. Wilkinson and M. Allen. Parallel Programming Techniques and Applications Using Networked Workstations and Parallel Computers. Prentice Hall, NJ, 1999.