There’s nothing mysterious about a node. It is simply a running Erlang VM. Throughout this book we’ve been running our code on a node.
The Erlang VM, called Beam, is more than a simple interpreter. It’s like its own little operating system running on top of your host operating system. It handles its own events, process scheduling, memory, naming services, and interprocess communication. In addition to all that, a node can connect to other nodes—in the same computer, across a LAN, or across the Internet—and provide many of the same services across these connections that it provides to the processes it hosts locally.