High-Performance Computing (HPC): Complete Overview

With high performance computing, the use of parallel processing and supercomputers is used to run advanced and complex programs. The […]

With high performance computing, the use of parallel processing and supercomputers is used to run advanced and complex programs. The system focuses on improving this process by integrating both administration and computational methods. High-performance computing, also called HPC, is a lens that puts different technologies like computer architecture, algorithms, system software, programs, and electronics under one filtering canopy. HPC makes complex problems easily accessible with decent speed and efficiency.

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Why is HPC (High-Performance Computing) Important?

By using big data, groundbreaking scientific discoveries are made on a worldwide scale, game-changing innovations are fueled, and quality of life is improved for billions of people around the world. HPC is the base for scientific, commercial, and societal development.

As new technologies like IoT, AI, and 3D imaging advance it is crucial to be able to process data in real-time due to their exponential growth. For many purposes such as streaming a live sporting event or testing new products, the ability to process data in real-time is crucial. To stay on the cutting edge of competition, organizations need to have powerful servers in order to process, analyze and store large amounts of data.

The task of computer processing is usually limited by the time available to a system or because there may not be enough resources. Sometimes, the best way to overcome these constraints are through high-performance computing using specialized computers or by using the computer’s computing power from different units. The subsequent allocation of operations and data across different units would be done by parallelizing. While the global HPC market is expected to grow in value by 2022, it’s important to emphasize that this industry has great potential because of the increasing demand for computing resources such as efficient computer systems and reliable storage. With an increase in adoption, the overall profitability of the industry is set to increase.

While performance computing is important for some reasons, there are five reasons that are conceptually distinct.

  • Every order of magnitude is a major change that opens up new applications or better use of the current ones.
  • With the rise of HPC, computational simulation is changing scientific methods.
  • HPC would be required as a platform of innovation to manage the massive pile of data.
  • Companies are now able to do more with their existing HPC systems and they benefit from the latest cost reductions. As a result, small companies are able to access and utilize these systems just as many bigger ones do.
  • In the face of dwindling resources, HPC is a chance to keep Moore’s law relevant.

The three key components of HPC solutions

  • Computer
  • Network
  • Storage

To handle all of a PC’s tasks, clusters are connected together and designed to perform data processing. The cluster is built on servers and software programs that run at once and the servers are also connected to the storage of tasks as output. Together, this creates an optimized computing environment for a wide variety of tasks.

The computer servers require the storage component to provide a parallel flow of data; as such, the components must be able to keep up. This is required for each component at the platform’s best performance. In order to offer a high-performance infrastructure, the networking components must be able to support the speed of data transmission between computer servers and storage devices. However, if one component cannot keep up with the rest, it will impact overall performance.

What is HPC Cluster?

A computer cluster is composed of hundreds of networked computers that have all been programmed to work together. The computing power of an HPC cluster can be considered “super-powerful” because each node has the same capabilities.

High-Performance Computing use Cases:

High performance computers are becoming more important as research tools in different areas; previously used by software developers, these tools are now the only way to tackle new and complicated projects.

  • Research Labs: High performance computing is used in countless fields, including the innovative and useful areas of renewable energy, understanding the evolution of the universe, storm prediction and tracking, and creating new materials.
  • Media and Entertainment: Having a powerful processor allows HPC to generate live-streaming content and feature films with stunning visuals. HPC is also used to produce special effects in movies that you may not be able to imagine with the human eye.
  • Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning: HPC is used to detect credit card fraud, provide self-guided technical support, teach self-driving vehicles, and improve cancer screening techniques. It is also very important in finance and the financial sector of the economy.
  • HPC is used to create new products, simulate test scenarios, and keep production lines running effectively. HPC models help analyze how parts will act under a variety of conditions.
  • The HPC’s use in medical advancements has been a contributing factor to the faster, more accurate diagnosis of diseases like diabetes and cancer.

Advantages of HPC

Hyperion Research predicts that the HPC market is growing at a rate of 9.8% for businesses between 2017 and 2022. Hardware cost reductions have caused growth in high-performance computing. Server sales totaled the same 15% increase in 2018 as compared to 2017.

❖ Saves Money: Businesses can now produce faster results in an automated, efficient process, thus saving more money. This is advantageous to entrepreneurs, who may save a large amount of money in the long run. While you have to invest initial funds into setting up this system, the benefits in processing and productivity can often make up for the investment. HPCs are often able to determine weak or slow spots in your business’s computing infrastructure and run applications more efficiently. When these systems aren’t working so hard, you’re saving space and time that could otherwise be wasted and saving money because of the lack of wasted resources.

❖ Streamline Processes: Computers have been able to automate their own processes. For example, high-performance computing systems, also known as HPCs, can handle more than a regular PC, and these can be used to get more productivity out of your workers all while lessening the cost of running them. These comprehensive systems can crunch data, analyze it, and provide your team with figures to identify gaps and produce results. These supercomputer systems can identify issues with multiple processes and IT departments will prioritize fixing the weakness. If you assign conflicting commands to these computers, HPC computers can identify which process is affecting the other one and allow your IT department to correct it before it becomes a bottleneck.

❖ Fault Tolerance: If part of the system is not functioning, it will not affect the entire HPC system as long as fault tolerance has been enabled. Fault tolerance allows for the continuation of computations even if one component of the computing source is faulty.

❖ High Accessibility: High performance computing servers can be deployed either on-premise or in a cloud data center. Depending upon the business requirements and ability, they provide on-demand access to data, to improve workflow. With a highly robust, redundant, and powerful HPC system, we can keep our customers and our service humming along with real-time critical work.

With the potential for HPC to evolve, far faster than it was able to factor in the past, its demand across the industry has shifted. However, if you are reluctant or unable to deploy an HPC setup on your local premises, cloud-based HPC solutions may be a better decision.

HPC Applications

While a supercomputer is more powerful than a computer configuration called HPC, for an HPC most references equate to less powerful computers. The difference between these two terms is the number of cores, clusters, and cost. It is very expensive to have a supercomputer, so most businesses will choose between HPCs, HPC cloud computing, and regular cloud computing. HPC cloud computing is a program that provides powerful computational features in a cloud-based service.

Essentially, it offers high performance resources in the form of computing and storage. HPC cloud computing includes two components: compute and storage. The computation needs to be stored somewhere while it’s being run as well as the results being saved in an organized manner so that they can be accessed later. Computational and data-intensive applications like HPC can generate large quantities of data, which is particularly difficult to store on devices. Cloud computing offers a much safer way to store and transmit this data. Another attractive aspect of HPC cloud computing is how processors can be tailored to different types of jobs. Processors generally use GPUs for simulations, imaging, and modeling.

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What are Different Jobs Available in HPC?

HPC jobs differ in the description, like several other jobs related to technology. There are non-technical roles and technical roles, such as HPC application developer, HPC processor designer, HPC quality assurance, HPC UNIX Systems administrator, etc.

What is an HPC Processor?

The architecture of the nodes consists of an HPC processor. In this technology, the HPC processor is designed with a combination of brains and nerds and can use CPUs or GPGPUs for processing. CPUs are traditionally used to power computers and GPGPUs are similar to an AI that processes images and graphics. The more CPU cores that the processor has, the faster it will process information. Multiple CPU clusters enable parallel processing.

What are Some other HPC use Cases?

Industries have increased the use of HPC as a problem-solving tool, including in the life sciences, oil and gas industries, and manufacturing. It seems that more new industries are beginning to pick up on this trend. Some examples listed include celestial body discovery, fraud prevention, Virtual technical support, drug discovery, etc.

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