The beginnings of decentralized computing
The origin of edge computing can be traced back to the 1990s, when Akamai launched its content delivery network (CDN). The idea back then was to introduce nodes at locations geographically closer to the end user for the delivery of cached content such as images and videos.
In 1997, in their work “Agile application-aware adaptation for mobility,” Nobel et al. demonstrated how different types of applications (web browsers, video, and speech recognition) running on resource-constrained mobile devices can offload certain tasks to powerful servers (surrogates). The goal was to relieve the load on the computing resources. And, as proposed in a later work, to improve the battery life – of mobile devices. Today, for example, speech-recognition services from Google, Apple, and Amazon work in a similar way. In 2001, with reference to pervasive computing, Satyanarayanan et al. generalized this approach in their paper “Pervasive computing: vision and challenges.”
In 2001 scalable and decentralized distributed applications used, as proposed, different peer-to-peer (so-called distributed hash tables) overlay networks. These self-organizing overlay networks enable efficient and fault-tolerant routing, object location, and load balancing. Moreover, these systems also make it possible to exploit the network proximity of underlying physical connections in the internet, thereby avoiding long-distance links between peers. This not only decreases the overall network load but also improves the latency of applications.