master/slave - Computer Definition
Descriptive of a relationship in which one entity, the master, is in total control of another, the slave. In computer networking, master/slave is a network architecture and set of protocols in which one device or program, the master, exerts total control over one or more other devices, the slaves.The master determines the communications priorities of the slaves, for example. A master/slave architecture, such as IBM Token Ring or Synchronous Data Link Control (SDLC), is decidedly different from a peer-topeer architecture, in which computers communicate as equals, sharing the same responsibilities and using the same programs to communicate.As the term master/slave can be offensive to some people, some computer manufacturers prefer the term primary/secondary. Bluetooth specifications provides for ad hoc piconets that can include as many as seven slaves under the control of a master, which assumes that responsibility when initiating the network. See also ad hoc, Bluetooth, client/server, network architecture, PC, peer-topeer, piconet, protocols, SDLC, and Token Ring.
(1) An electronic interaction in which one device acts as the controller (the master) and initiates the commands, and the other devices (the slaves) respond accordingly. See master-slave communications.
(2) An ordering of electronic devices in a primary-secondary sequence. For example, when a pair of ATA (IDE) disk drives are installed in the same PC, one is configured as master and the other as slave. See IDE.