Thursday, 4 February 2010

Don't call it High Performance Computing?

[Originally posted on The NAG Blog]

Having just signed up for twitter (HPCnotes), I've realised that the space I previously had to get my point across was nothing short of luxurious (e.g. my ZDNet columns). It's like the traditional challenge of the elevator pitch - can you make your point about High Performance Computing (HPC) in the 140 character limit of a tweet? It might even be a challenge to state what HPC is in 140 characters. Can we sum up our profession that simply? To a non-HPC person?

The inspired John West of InsideHPC fame wrote about the need to explain HPC some time ago in HPCwire. It's not an abstract problem. As multicore processors (whether CPUs or GPUs) become the default for scientific computing, the parallel programming technologies and methods of HPC are becoming important for all numercial computing users - even if they don't identify themselves as HPC users. In turn, of course, HPC benefits in sustainability and usability from the mass market use of parallel programming skills and technologies.

I'll try to put it in 140 characters (less space for a link): Multicore CPUs promise extra performance but software must be optimised to take advantage. HPC methods can help.

It's not good - can you say it better? Add a comment to this blog post to try ...

For those of you finding this blog post from the short catch line above, hoping to find the answer to how HPC methods can help - well that's what my future posts and those of my colleagues here will address.

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