[Beowulf] Definition of HPC

Prentice Bisbal prentice.bisbal at rutgers.edu
Mon Apr 15 11:21:34 PDT 2013

In response to Jeff Layton's article on using the cloud for HPC (link 
below), there's been a discussion on whether there should be a new term 
used in this case to replace 'HPC', such as 'research computing' which 
Jeff used in his articles. I say no. We just need to reconsider how we 
define HPC. For example, my definition of HPC is as follows, which I 
often use when giving introductory presentations on HPC.

"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."

In this case, extended could be as short as 30 seconds or a few minutes. 
It's relative, and these day , many CPUs in typical use cases are 
sitting idle waiting for something to react to (a URL request, mouse 
movement, or keyboard input, etc.) Using this definition, even 'big 
data' and cloud jobs described by Jeff are still HPC. It just now the 
disk/network is at/near 100% instead of the CPU and RAM.

That's my opinion on the matter.



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