09/02: What’s a distributed system

What’s a distributed system?

  • Multiple computers work together to solve a problem that’s too large for a single computer.
  • Can complete tasks despite failures
  • look like a non-distributed system from a user’s perspective
    • may result programmers working in conflict
  1. speed
  2. reliability: if one system make mistake, the others could catch it
  3. availability (fault tolerance): if one system fails, the others might still own a copy
  4. transparency: view as a single system to the users
  5. cost: cheapter to assemble a group of computers than to build a supercomputer becuase a supercomputer cannot tolerate any failure on any component.

Q: Is a multicore computer distributed system?

Yes in a sense that it has to share resources.

No because if one core fails, the whole system crashes. Also, multicore computers don’t worry about packets getting lost across network which happens more often in a distributed system.