Distributed computing

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Distributed computing is a field of computer science that studies distributed systems. A distributed system consists of multiple autonomous computers that communicate through a computer network. The computers interact with each other in order to achieve a common goal. A computer program that runs in a distributed system is called a distributed program, and distributed programming is the process of writing such programs.[1]

Distributed computing also refers to the use of distributed systems to solve computational problems. In distributed computing, a problem is divided into many tasks, each of which is solved by one computer.[2]



The word distributed in terms such as "distributed system", "distributed programming", and "distributed algorithm" originally referred to computer networks where individual computers were physically distributed within some geographical area.[3] The terms are nowadays used in a much wider sense, even referring to autonomous processes that run on the same physical computer and interact with each other by message passing.[4]

While there is no single definition of a distributed system,[5] the following defining properties are commonly used:

  • There are several autonomous computational entities, each of which has its own local memory.[6]
  • The entities communicate with each other by message passing.[7]

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