• The CompSys section is started mid 1970’s by Andrew Tanenbaum.
  • The section soon reaches fame through Andrew Tanenbaum’s groundbreaking book “Structured Computer Organization” (1976).


  • Release of the Amsterdam Compiler Kit or ACK (1983), pioneering work on portable optimizing compilers.
  • Dick Grune develops the Concurrent Versions System or CVS (1986), the precursor of modern software version control systems such as SVN and GIT.
  • Release of  the MINIX operating system and the companion book “Operating Systems: Design and Implementation” (1987), which would later inspire Linux.


  • Amoeba processor pool (1994)

    Andrew Tanenbaum and his students (Henri Bal, Frans Kaashoek, Robert van Renesse) release the Orca parallel programming language (1992) and the Amoeba distributed operating system (1996), both heavily influential for follow-on research in the field.

  • DAS-1 VU cluster (128 nodes)

    The first DAS (Distributed ASCI Supercomputer) was built in 1997

  • Henri Bal starts a new chair on High Performance Distributed Computing (1999).


  • Maarten van Steen (now at University of Twente) starts a new chair on Large-scale Distributed Systems (2002), with new directions such as large-scale sensor networks and worldwide distributed systems (Globe).
  •  Release of MINIX 3, a new MINIX variant with emphasis on systems reliability and security, which would later result in numerous award-winning PhD projects.
  • The Ibis project studies Jungle computing, hand in hand with several eScience applications from astronomy, multimedia, climate modeling, etc.


  • Herbert Bos starts a new chair on Systems and Network Security (2012), with new directions such as software security monitoring (Argos) and hardware security (Rowhammer exploitation).
  • Alexandru Iosup starts a new chair on Massivizing Computer Systems (2017), with new directions such as data center scheduling and performance engineering.
  • The HPDC group starts a new line of research on sensing with smartphones and Internet-of-Things, see our SWAN software
  • DAS-6 was accepted by NWO and will be built in 2019.
  • MINIX 3 is now used on millions of machines worldwide to run the Intel management engine.