What is HPC? Alpha 1

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Ok, so here is an alpha of the presentation I talked about a couple weeks ago.

To refresh your memory, the goal of this presentation is to give HPC’ers a go to presentation they can deliver anytime we’re called on to give a “what is HPC?” speech to a nontechnical but slightly motivated audience.

Ultimately I would envision there being specialized versions of this for specific audiences (kids, undergrads, practicing engineers, etc.). But right now there’s only the One. This means that the presentation is very general as written, but that’s what you’re for: there are plenty of places for you to tailor it on the fly as its being delivered. Just change what you talk about.

Now it’s your turn. Help us make this a useful tool by offering your comments. Love it? Hate? Really think an additional topic should be covered (send a slide)? Have great pictures of HPC solutions, or good examples of problems where HPC made a difference? Send them to me.

Points to keep in mind as you offer comments:

  1. This is a general presentation, meant to be tailored during delivery to a specific audience’s needs.
  2. It is very high level. My express goal is not to induce spontaneous audience comas by talking about FLOPS and MPI. But you certainly could use this presentation as a jumping off point to introduce more tech stuff.
  3. There are very few words. This is on purpose (otherwise, why do they need you to deliver it?).
  4. The design of the presentation is meant to connect the audience with the idea that HPC is accessible, different, and interesting. This is on purpose.
  5. The images are very low quality. These images are comps, which means they are low res versions of images that I’ll eventually buy from iStockPhoto and put in at much higher quality.
  6. The slides have a date and number on the bottom for review convenience; they won’t be on the final.

Ready? Set. Download!


  1. Good alpha. Elephant, Ant analogy is innovative (for me)

    How about some examples for these slides? (as some notes)
    1. Too Dangerous
    2. Time taking
    3. Too Complex
    4. Way beyond available tools
    5. HPC affecting us in many ways that we don’t realize


  2. Sateesh –

    Thanks for writing in. Are you suggesting that I add some note text to the slides to flesh out what I’m talking about with those pictures? Probably a good idea…for example, the “too complex” one is a picture of a warehouse, and the idea is that moving millions of packages around the world every day is tough and that needs supercomputing. But it would be hard for someone who isn’t me to look at that slide and know that. Is that what you’re talking about?

  3. sorry … but the link for the download is broken. Thanks

  4. John West says

    Hernan – this presentation is getting a little long in the tooth, but I did put it back up in case you’d still like to grab it.