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The predicting of the weather is a good example for the need of High Performance Computing. Using the fastest central processing unit computer it might take a year to predict tomorrow's weather. The information would be correct but 365 days late. Using parallel processing techniques and a powerful "high performance computer", we might be able to predict tomorrow’s weather in 6 hours. Not only correct, but in time to be useful.

Measuring computer power

Most people are familiar with the giga hertz (billions of instructions per second) measure to describe how fast a single CPU's processor is running. Most microcomputers of today are running around 3 GHz or 3 billion instructions a second. Although 3 billion sounds fast, many of these instructions are simple operations.

Supercomputing uses a measurement involving floating point arithmetic calculations as the benchmark for comparing computer power. "In computing, FLOPS (or flops or flop / s ) is an acronym meaning FL oating point O perations P er S econd." and again "On May 25, 2008, an American military supercomputer built by IBM, named 'Roadrunner', reached the computing milestone of one petaflop by processing more than 1.026 quadrillion calculations per second." (FLOPS from Wikipedia) For those of us not familiar:

Getting a sense of power

3 billion or 3 GHz is: 3,000,000,000 1 quadrillion or 1 pedaflop is: 1,000,000,000,000,000

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You also should realize that your personal computer is not doing 3 gigafolp worth of calculations, but something slower when using the FLOPS measurement.

High performance computing made personal

It took several years (about 30) to get computers to a personal level (1951 to 1981). It took about twenty years (late 1980’s to present 2009) to get multi-processor computers to the personal level. Currently available to the general public are computers with "duo core" and "quad core" processors. In the near future, micro computers will have 8 to 16 core processors. People ask, "Why would I need that much computer power?" There are dozens of applications, but I can think of a least one item that almost everyone wants: high quality voice recognition. That's right! I want to talk to my computer. Toss your mouse, toss your keyboard, no more touch pad – talk to it.

Again, one short coming is that most programming efforts have been towards teaching and learning the sequential processing way of thinking or solving a problem. Educators will now need to teach and programmers will now need to develop skills in programming using parallel concepts and algorithms.


We have bounced you back and forth between sequential and parallel concepts. We covered our natural tendency to do work in parallel. But with the birth of computers the parallel concepts were set to the side and the computer industry implemented a faster single processor approach (sequential). We explained the limitations of sequential processing and the need for computing power. Thus, the birth of High Performance Computing. Parallel processing computers are migrating into our homes. With that migration, there is a great need to educate the existing generation and develop the next generation of scientists and programmers to be able to take advantage of High Performance Computing.

Questions & Answers

I only see partial conversation and what's the question here!
Crow Reply
what about nanotechnology for water purification
RAW Reply
please someone correct me if I'm wrong but I think one can use nanoparticles, specially silver nanoparticles for water treatment.
what is the stm
Brian Reply
is there industrial application of fullrenes. What is the method to prepare fullrene on large scale.?
industrial application...? mmm I think on the medical side as drug carrier, but you should go deeper on your research, I may be wrong
How we are making nano material?
what is a peer
What is meant by 'nano scale'?
What is STMs full form?
scanning tunneling microscope
how nano science is used for hydrophobicity
Do u think that Graphene and Fullrene fiber can be used to make Air Plane body structure the lightest and strongest. Rafiq
what is differents between GO and RGO?
what is simplest way to understand the applications of nano robots used to detect the cancer affected cell of human body.? How this robot is carried to required site of body cell.? what will be the carrier material and how can be detected that correct delivery of drug is done Rafiq
what is Nano technology ?
Bob Reply
write examples of Nano molecule?
The nanotechnology is as new science, to scale nanometric
nanotechnology is the study, desing, synthesis, manipulation and application of materials and functional systems through control of matter at nanoscale
Is there any normative that regulates the use of silver nanoparticles?
Damian Reply
what king of growth are you checking .?
What fields keep nano created devices from performing or assimulating ? Magnetic fields ? Are do they assimilate ?
Stoney Reply
why we need to study biomolecules, molecular biology in nanotechnology?
Adin Reply
yes I'm doing my masters in nanotechnology, we are being studying all these domains as well..
what school?
biomolecules are e building blocks of every organics and inorganic materials.
anyone know any internet site where one can find nanotechnology papers?
Damian Reply
sciencedirect big data base
Introduction about quantum dots in nanotechnology
Praveena Reply
what does nano mean?
Anassong Reply
nano basically means 10^(-9). nanometer is a unit to measure length.
do you think it's worthwhile in the long term to study the effects and possibilities of nanotechnology on viral treatment?
Damian Reply
absolutely yes
how to know photocatalytic properties of tio2 nanoparticles...what to do now
Akash Reply
it is a goid question and i want to know the answer as well
characteristics of micro business
for teaching engĺish at school how nano technology help us
How can I make nanorobot?
how did you get the value of 2000N.What calculations are needed to arrive at it
Smarajit Reply
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Source:  OpenStax, Programming fundamentals - a modular structured approach using c++. OpenStax CNX. Jan 10, 2013 Download for free at http://cnx.org/content/col10621/1.22
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