Panda is an algorithm that deals with thin content (for the most part). If your site is not providing a good content experience to the users that come to it, when Panda comes through may see your site be devaluated or conversely, if you have been producing a lot of great content you may see your site increase like a rocket shot. In the case of Panda, the algorithm is run with the main algorithm and although there are refreshes, you do not have to wait long for Panda to come through.
Penguin is an algorithm that originally dealt with spamming the algorithm or manipulating it. The goal of Penguin was to devalue sites that were violating Google’s Webmaster Guidelines. At first, it was known as the over-optimization penalty and over time has become known as the links penalty. The web spam focus has never changed as far as I am able to tell, but the link focus has become more dominant over time with regard to devaluations and recoveries.