A collection of (probably heterogeneous) automata whose distribution is transparent to the user so that the system appears as one local machine. This is in contrast to a network, where the user is aware that there are several machines, and their location, storage replication, load balancing and functionality is not transparent. Distributed systems usually use some kind of client-server organisation.
Distributed systems are considered by some to be the "next wave" of computing.
Distributed Computing Environment is the Open Software Foundation's software architecture for distributed systems.
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Nearby terms: Distributed Processes « Distributed Queue Dual Bus « Distributed Smalltalk « distributed system » distributed systems » distribution » distributive lattice