I am looking for a publication-friendly term to describe the total quantity of data communicated between nodes of a distributed system, as invoked by some discrete operation. This term would describe the integral of the bandwidth over time.

For example, if node 0 sends 1 byte to node 1, and node 2 sends 3 bytes to node 3, then the total comunicated data in this transaction is 4 bytes.

The wikipedia page on Bandwidth (computing) includes

Digital bandwidth should not be confused with:

Data transfer: which is the quantity of data transferred over a given period of time.

but this is hardly a 'term' to me, if used like "the total data transferred is..."

The closest term I could create myself is "aggregate payload", but this might suggest the exclusion of message overheads, according to the Wikipedia definition of Payload.

Is there any nomenclature recognised in the CS community for this kind of thing, or am I stuck with these verbose phrases?


1 Answer 1


Your description is fine: "total amount of data communicated". That is fine.

See also communication complexity, but that's typically used more in theoretical work.

  • $\begingroup$ Since I use this phrase to qualify about 35 pages of algorithms, it is starting to feel very weighty and verbose. Would an abbreviation like total communicated data (TCD) offend the CS community?? Thank you for the link to communication complexity - indeed I am also looking for a related term to replace "the scaling of the number of serial rounds of pairwise communication between nodes" if you have any suggestions! :^) $\endgroup$
    – Anti Earth
    Jan 23, 2022 at 3:29

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