Distributed Computing

Distributed computing is a field of computer science that studies distributed systems. A distributed system is a model in which components located on networked computers communicate and coordinate their actions by passing messages.

Distributed computing

The components interact with each other in order to achieve a common goal. Three significant characteristics of distributed systems are: concurrency of components, lack of a global clock, and independent failure of components.Examples of distributed systems vary from SOA-based systems to massively multiplayer online games to peer-to-peer applications.

A computer program that runs in a distributed system is called a distributed program, and distributed programming is the process of writing such programs. There are many alternatives for the message passing mechanism, including pure HTTP, RPC-like connectors and message queues

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 or more computers,which communicate with each other by message passing.

Properties of distributed systems:

So far the focus has been on designing a distributed system that solves a given problem. A complementary research problem is studying the properties of a given distributed system.

The halting problem is an analogous example from the field of centralised computation: we are given a computer program and the task is to decide whether it halts or runs forever. The halting problem is undecidable in the general case, and naturally understanding the behaviour of a computer network is at least as hard as understanding the behaviour of one computer.

Examples of distributed systems and applications of distributed computing include the following:

a. telecommunication networks:
  • telephone networks and cellular networks.
  • computer networks such as the Internet.
  • wireless sensor networks.
  • routing algorithms.
b. network applications:
  • World Wide Web and peer-to-peer networks.
  • massively multiplayer online games and virtual reality communities.
  • distributed databases and distributed database management systems.
  • network file systems.
  • distributed information processing systems such as banking systems and airline reservation systems.
c. real-time process control:
  • aircraft control systems.
  • industrial control systems.
d. parallel computation:
  • scientific computing, including cluster computing and grid computing and various volunteer computing projects (see the list of distributed computing projects).
  • distributed rendering in computer graphics.
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