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Parallel Processing Vs Distributed Processing

Posted on 2008-10-28
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What is difference between Parallel and Distributed Processing.
which one is a subset of anothere and which one has more scope (applicable to more practical problems) ?

Thanks.
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Question by:sctt_tiger
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by:jgmontgo
ID: 22820099
Parallel processing is a subset of distributed processing. The difference between the two occurs when you look at how and when the processing occurs. In other words, with parallel, the processing is done in parallel. Distributed processing can take place in parallel, but may not be in parallel, therefore it has a much greater scope.
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by:sctt_tiger
ID: 22828405
ok, thats fine.
is there any problem that suits better to be solved with Parallel Processing and not with Distributed Processing or Vice Versa ?
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jgmontgo earned 200 total points
ID: 22828883
A geat example of distributed processing is SETI@home. This type of solution works for them because they are able to distribute chunks of data across a loosely connected network of computers. The processing is done in a distributed manner.
Parallel processing is better suited to cases where you must have a consistantly high level of computing power. Can't accomplish the task with a single process going on at the same time, add another.
Look at the internal arcetecture of the PC, processors and even operating systems. A while back it was discovered that we may be reaching the theroritical limit for clock speed, so what was the next move. We were well on our way to using a multi threaded environmemt. Now we have desktop PC's that contain processsors containing 2 or even 4 cores. This means we are actually doing parallel processing on the desktop, and it is commonplace.
Do not look at either distributed processing or parallel processing as a hugeely scaled thing, it can be very small and it can also be very large.
One more example of distributed processing woudl be a cluster. Not really classified as parallel processing because each machine may take on a completely different role at any given moment. This is one way of creating one machine that is more powerful that the individual computers. One use for clustering technology is to provide a massively scalable virtual server environment. There are MANY benefits:
  • If one node fails the workload fails over to the remaining nodes.
  • If one node needs to be taken down for service it can be done without affecting the services that are running
  • It is a great way to help a data center stay green. If the cluster is not being fully utilized, other processes can be migrated to it or it can be downsized (nodes taken down) thus reducing power consumption. This is also a function of a good management system and the use of server virtulization. It is theorized that an entire datacenter full of running computers (24/7) can be reduced to a very small number of running machines durring off peak time.
I have an associate that is the IT manager of a large Hospital. They have one server that can never be taken down because it manages the blood bank and is very critical. With distributed computing coupled with server virtualization they NEVER go down. Not even when a machine needs service or crashes.
 
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