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This module serves as the introductory module for the Open Education Cup contest (http://OpenEducationCup.org) collaborative book. This introduction outlines the primary focus of the contest and provides examples to help authors get started with their contest entries.

What is parallel computing, and why should i care?

Parallel computing simply means using more than one computer processor to solve a problem. Classically, computers have been presented to newcomers as “sequential” systems, where the processor does one step at a time. There are still machines and applications where this is true, but today most systems have parallel features. Some examples are shown below.
We hasten to point out that, although we use certain commercial systems and chips as examples, they are by no means the only ones. Additional examples in all categories are available from other companies. The Open Education Cup would welcome modules on any type of parallel system.

Supercomputers achieve astounding speed on scientific computations by using amazing numbers of processors. The Roadrunner system at Los Alamos National Laboratory ( ) is currently the world’s fastest computer, with over 100,000 processor cores combining to reach 1 PetaFLOPS ( 10 15 floating point operations per second).

Servers use multiple processors to handle many simultaneous requests in a timely manner. For example, a web server might use dozens of processors to supply hundreds of pages per second. A 64-processor server ( ) could supply an average university department’s need for computation, file systems, and other support.

Grid computing combines distributed computers (often from different organizations) into one unified system. One vision ( ) is that a scientist working at her desk in Houston can send a problem to be solved by supercomputers in Illinois and California, accessing data in other locations. Other grid computing projects, such as the World Community Grid, seek to use millions of idle PCs to solve important problems, such as searching for candidate drug designs.

Multicore chips include several processor cores on a single computer chip. Even a laptop (or other small system) that uses a multicore chip is a parallel computer. For example, the Quad-core AMD Opteron processor ( ) is one of a family of chips with 4 cores. As another example, the IBM Cell processor chips used in the Roadrunner supercomputer have 8 “Synergistic Processing Elements” (i.e. fast cores) each, plus 1 Power Processing Element (which controls the others).

Graphics processors (often called GPUs) are a special type of chip originally designed for image processing. They feature massive numbers of scalar processors to allow rendering many pixels in parallel. For example, The NVIDIA Tesla series ( ) boasts 240 processors. Such special-purpose parallel chips are the basis for accelerated computing.

In effect, all modern computing is parallel computing.

Getting the most out of a parallel computer requires finding and exploiting opportunities to do several things at once. Some examples of such opportunities in realistic computer applications might include:

Questions & Answers

How we are making nano material?
what is a peer
What is meant by 'nano scale'?
What is STMs full form?
scanning tunneling microscope
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?
Do somebody tell me a best nano engineering book for beginners?
s. Reply
there is no specific books for beginners but there is book called principle of nanotechnology
how can I make nanorobot?
what is fullerene does it is used to make bukky balls
Devang Reply
are you nano engineer ?
fullerene is a bucky ball aka Carbon 60 molecule. It was name by the architect Fuller. He design the geodesic dome. it resembles a soccer ball.
what is the actual application of fullerenes nowadays?
That is a great question Damian. best way to answer that question is to Google it. there are hundreds of applications for buck minister fullerenes, from medical to aerospace. you can also find plenty of research papers that will give you great detail on the potential applications of fullerenes.
what is the Synthesis, properties,and applications of carbon nano chemistry
Abhijith Reply
Mostly, they use nano carbon for electronics and for materials to be strengthened.
is Bucky paper clear?
carbon nanotubes has various application in fuel cells membrane, current research on cancer drug,and in electronics MEMS and NEMS etc
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Source:  OpenStax, 2008-'09 open education cup: high performance computing. OpenStax CNX. Oct 28, 2008 Download for free at http://cnx.org/content/col10594/1.3
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