Distributed computing is a field of computer science that studies distributed systems. A distributed system is a system whose components are located on different networked computers, which communicate and coordinate their actions by passing messages to one another.
The components interact with one another 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 within a distributed system is called a distributed program (and distributed programming is the process of writing such programs). There are many different types of implementations 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 via message passing.