Dr. Dobb’s Journal has an article by Max Fomitchev of Penn State:
This trend of decentralized computing met a subtle reverse in ’90s when the Internet and World Wide Web provided a means for integrating decentralized computational resources into a unified client-server environment. In reality, what seems like 60 years of technological advancement represents a full evolutionary cycle: We started with shared computational resources occupying rooms of equipment and through brief desktop detour arrived at shared computational resource model built on the backbone of intranet/Internet. There is unquestionable numerical difference between what we 30 years ago and what we have now in the sense that computers now are used by much larger population and for a far wider range of tasks. There is a characteristic difference too: we kept our desktop PCs and we use them for more then mere terminals. In fact computing did not just come a full circle; it came a loop of spiral: We have not really come back to good old centralized computing but rather to arrived at distributed computing model. Although a bulk of work may be done by centralized resources such as servers providing computational services, our desktop PCs and client workstations handle independently multitude of tasks.