Wanted: More Pointers on How to Talk HPC

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Jonathan Turner, a PhD student at University of Colorado, Boulder, blogs this week on how to talk HPC. I do this for a living now, so I’m not ashamed to say that here’s what I learned today:

  • More than one memory is memories.  Discontiguous or heterogeneous memory is also memories. It’s not RAMs, though.
  • More than one source code is codes.  Benchmarks are also codes.
  • Supercomputers can be built of nodes, but clusters are for wimps.  Instead use blades, backplanes and cabinets.
  • DARPA is a synonym for the mint.

How about you? Any HPC lingo to contribute? Let us know in the comments.


  1. If I were you, I’d find a better source references for your ontology. Blades, cabinets and backplanes are OK for mere datacenters, but bridges, adaptive topologies, and hybrid, heterogeneous clusters still prevail in serious HPC. DARPA may have money, but they’ve loaded it in a shotgun and couldn’t hit the side of a barn – from the inside.

    Oh, and ASC codes are legacy contraptions that need brute force computation to make up for their inefficient architecture. ASC = antique simulation computing.

    Nice try.

  2. I’d only agree with the codes one, to be honest. Certainly down here in Australia!

    My favourite is that grid != cluster (thanks Sun for that, grrrr).