[Beowulf] Definition of HPC

Adam DeConinck ajdecon at ajdecon.org
Mon Apr 15 12:36:14 PDT 2013


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On Mon, Apr 15, 2013 at 03:17:52PM -0400, Max R. Dechantsreiter wrote:
> "High performance computing (HPC) is a form of computer usage where
> utlilization one of the computer subsystems (processor, ram, disk,
> network, etc), is at or near 100% capacity for extended periods of time."
> 
> Could my laptop exhibit symptoms of HPC, as you defined them?

Or my Raspberry Pi, which I'm pretty sure is running 100% CPU right
now but not getting much done!

My own (vague) definition of HPC would probably be based more on the
intended design of the system, something like:

"A high-performance computing system is designed to use one or more
computers to achieve the maximum performance possible on a particular
computational task."

This could be improved, but it makes a distinction between maxing out a
"normal" computer and designing a system specifically for performance.
It also distinguishes (kinda) between HPC and HTC, which is aimed at
throughput; and I like that it can still be applied to "cloud HPC",
since a "high performance design" could include lots of VMs. :)

On the other hand, it could still apply to a gaming PC, which is
designed to max out gaming performance (a "computational task")!

In any case, I agree with the original article that "Research Computing"
is a better description for applying computing to science and engineering 
workloads, regardless of the performance target.

Cheers,
Adam

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