Wide Area Information Servers or WAIS is a client_server text searching system that uses the ANSI Standard Z39.50 Information Retrieval Service Definition and Protocol Specifications for Library Applications" (Z39.50:1988) to search index databases on remote computers. It was developed in the late 1980s as a project of Thinking Machines, Apple Computer, Dow Jones, and KPMG Peat Marwick. WAIS did not adhere to either the standard or its OSI framework (adopting instead TCP/IP) but created a unique protocol inspired by Z39.50:1988. The WAIS protocol and servers were primarily promoted by Thinking Machines Corporation (TMC) of Cambridge, Massachusetts. TMC produced WAIS servers which ran on their massively parallel CM-2 (Connection Machine) and SPARC-based CM-5 MP supercomputers. WAIS clients were developed for various operating systems and windowing systems including Microsoft Windows, Macintosh, NeXT, X-Windows, GNU-Emacs, and character terminals.
Contributions by Edward Zimmermann, Newmanbe, and 188.8.131.52.