Bacalhau enables users to run arbitrary docker containers and wasm images as tasks against data stored in IPFS. This architecture is referred to as Compute Over Data (or COD). The Portuguese word for salted Cod fish is "Bacalhau" which is the origin of the project's name.
Bacalhau operates as a peer-to-peer network of nodes where each node participates in executing (computing) jobs submitted to the cluster. Bacalhau CLI requests are sent to nodes in the cluster, which then broadcasts messages over the transport layer to other nodes in the cluster.