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What is HPC?


The term high performance computing (HPC) refers to any computational activity requiring more than a single computer to execute a task. Supercomputers and computer clusters are used to solve advanced computation problems. HPC is primarily used for two reasons. First, thanks to the increased number of central processing units (CPUs) and nodes, more computational power is available. Greater computational power enables specific models to be computed faster, since more operations can be performed per time unit. This is known as the speedup. The speedup is defined as the ratio between the execution time on the parallel system and the execution time on the serial system.

The most common users of HPC systems are scientific researchers, engineers and academic institutions. Some government agencies, particularly the military, also rely on HPC for complex applications. High-performance systems often use custom-made components in addition to so-called commodity components. As demand for processing power and speed grows, HPC will likely interest businesses of all sizes, particularly for transaction processing and data warehouses.