Exterior insulation and finish system (EIFS) is a general class of non-load bearing building cladding systems that provides exterior walls with an insulated, water-resistant, finished surface in an integrated composite material system. In Europe, systems similar to EIFS are known as External Wall Insulation System (EWIS) and External Thermal Insulation Cladding System (ETICS).
EIFS has been in use since the 1960s in North America, first on masonry buildings, but since the 1990s the majority on wood framed buildings. There is a history of water infiltration problems causing damage to buildings resulting in costly legal cases, so the recommended systems include a drainage plane to let water drain down and out from behind the cladding. Thanks to our friends at Wikipedia.