A Basic Introduction to the Concept of High Performance Computing (HPC)

Note: This is our very first blog post at All Things HPC. And we would like to take this opportunity to express our deepest thanks to QC’s Web Design & SEO, the company that got this blog onto its feet for us. If you want the best web design and SEO you can find, at a price you won’t believe, we suggest that you click here.

Now, let’s get right to it…

What exactly is high performance computing?

High performance computing is, in essence, the aggregating of computing power in such a way that you get much higher performance than what you can expect from a standard desktop computer or workstation—so that you can solve truly huge problems in business, engineering, or science.

To really understand what high performance computers are, all you have to do is think about what you will find in them.

You will find everything that you will find on your standard desktop computer: memory, operating system, disk, processors. It’s just that you have more of them.

The high performance computers that most small and medium-sized businesses are interested in today are actually, in fact, clusters of computers.

Each computer in the usual sort of cluster has anywhere from one to four processors (and remember that today’s processors all have anywhere from two to four cores).

 The individual computers in a cluster are commonly referred to as ‘nodes.’ A cluster for a small business might have anywhere from four nodes (in other words, 16 cores) to as many as 16 nodes or even 64 nodes (in other words, 64 to 256 cores).

The purpose of using high performance computers is to enable each individual node (hint, hint! “each ‘individual’ person!”) to cooperate in solving a problem larger than any one computer could solve.

In order to work together like this, the computers need to be able to talk to each other over and variety of different networks or interconnect options.

So that is your basic introduction to the concept of high performance computing (HPC). Tomorrow, in this same space we will talk to you about the software you need in order to make the whole cluster work as one.

Do you…get what we mean?

(Hint, hint!—Brother Jinsei Kuni (国人生), the Japanese Business Monk)

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