What is HPC "High Performance Computing" and how is it changing?

June 10, 2020

Data in the 21st Century is like oil in the 18th Century, an immensely, untapped valuable asset. It is estimated that by 2020 there will be 50 billion interconnected devices and all these devices will generate enormous amounts of data. Just like oil,  data generated by these devices must be refined to extract underlying useful information. There is a dire need for new computing techniques to handle this massive amount of data for analytics and HPC came out as the solution.  

What is HPC or High-Performance Computing?

The increased volume of data can be seen from the fact that in 2020, every person will generate 1.7 megabytes in just a second. With too much data being generated every second data scientists ran out of computing power and storage to process this huge data.

HPC in simple words is leveraging distributed compute resources to solve complex problems with large datasets(terabytes to petabytes to zetta bytes of data) in minutes to hours rather than days to weeks.

Through HPC computer scientists can now analyze much larger data sets in a short span of time since HPC is capable of a quintillion (or a billion billion) calculations per second.

What typically happens in HPC is that users submit a job to cluster manager and cluster manager runs workload on distributed resources such as CPUs, FPGAs, GPUs, and disk drives all interconnected via a network. The end result is the user gets results back for analysis. The following image illustrates the process.

It's very hard to say which specific areas are transformed by this emerging technology, as HPC is finding its application in every sector including astrophysics, bioinformatics, molecular dynamics, weather, and climate forecast, Big data analytics, AI, Cyber security are just a few to name.

AI together with HPC is one of the hottest topics these days and it is predicted that chip and systems companies that do not offer HPC or AI solutions may not be relevant in the next few years. Likewise, research organizations and enterprises that do not use HPC and AI also will become irrelevant in the future. Due to this reason companies are developing expertise in HPC based solution, for instance,  ILLIAR SA is one of leading emerging technologies solution provider with experience of over 10 years have recently added HPC to the fleet of their technologies to remain in the competition.

Just to give you an idea of how HPC is transforming different sectors, consider its role in medicine. Through the use of HPC, healthcare providers were able to create a noninvasive robotic arm that is controlled by the brain, a potentially life-changing breakthrough for people living with paralyzed limbs.

COVID-19 HPC Consortium has been developed with the aim to bring together the Federal government, industry, and academic leaders to provide access to the world's most powerful high-performance computing resources in support of COVID-19 research.

These are just a few simple use cases of HPC. If you don't know about this technology you are already too late.

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