What exactly is High-Performance Computing?
High Performance Computing (HPC) is the method of pooling computing resources in such a way that it provides significantly more horsepower than standard PCs and servers. HPC, or supercomputing, is similar to regular computing but much more powerful. It is a method of processing massive amounts of data at extremely fast speeds by using several computers and storage devices as a cohesive fabric. HPC enables researchers to investigate and solve some of the world’s most difficult issues in science, engineering, and business. HPC is being employed to handle complicated, high-performance challenges, and enterprises are progressively transferring HPC workloads to the cloud.
How does high-performance computing work?
Some workloads, like DNA sequencing, are just too large for a single computer to handle. Individual nodes (computers) working together in a cluster (connected group) to execute vast quantities of computation in a short period of time meet these large and complicated difficulties in HPC or supercomputing settings.
A corporation, for example, may send 100 million credit card records to individual processor cores in a cluster of nodes. Processing one credit card record is a modest operation, but when 100 million records are dispersed over the cluster, those little activities may be executed at remarkable rates at the same time (in parallel). Risk simulations, chemical modeling, contextual search, and logistics simulations are all common use cases.
What is the significance of HPC?
For decades, high-performance computing has been an essential component of academic research and industrial innovation. Engineers, data scientists, designers, and other researchers may use HPC to solve massive, complicated problems in a fraction of the time and expense of traditional computing.
The key advantages of HPC are as follows:
- Physical testing is reduced since HPC can be utilized to construct simulations, which eliminates the requirement for physical tests. For example, when testing vehicle accidents, creating a simulation is significantly easier and less expensive than doing a crash test.
- Cost: Quicker responses imply less wasted time and money. Furthermore, cloud-based HPC allows even small firms and startups to run HPC workloads, paying just for what they use and scaling up and down as needed.
- Innovation: HPC promotes innovation in practically every industry—the it’s driving force behind important scientific discoveries that improve people’s quality of life all around the world.
- Aerospace: Creating complex simulations, such as airflow over the wings of planes
- Manufacturing: Executing simulations, such as those for autonomous driving, to support the design, manufacture, and testing of new products, resulting in safer cars, lighter parts, more-efficient processes, and innovations
- Financial technology (fintech): Performing complex risk analyses, high-frequency trading, financial modeling, and fraud detection
- Genomics: Sequencing DNA, analyzing drug interactions, and running protein analyses to support ancestry studies
- Healthcare: Researching drugs, creating vaccines, and developing innovative treatments for rare and common diseases
- Media and entertainment: Creating animations, rendering special effects for movies, transcoding huge media files, and creating immersive entertainment
- Oil and gas: Performing spatial analyses and testing reservoir models to predict where oil and gas resources are located, and conducting simulations such as fluid flow and seismic processing
- Retail: Analyzing massive amounts of customer data to provide more-targeted product recommendations and better customer service
Where does HPC take place?
HPC can be done on-premise, in the cloud, or in a hybrid approach that combines the two.
In an on-premise HPC deployment, a company or research institution constructs an HPC cluster comprised of servers, storage systems, and other equipment that it manages and upgrades over time. A cloud service provider administers and controls the infrastructure in a cloud HPC deployment, and enterprises use it on a pay-as-you-go basis.
Some businesses employ hybrid deployments, particularly those that have invested in on-premise infrastructure yet wish to benefit from the cloud’s speed, flexibility, and cost benefits. They can use the cloud on a continuous basis to execute some HPC tasks, and resort to cloud services on an ad hoc basis when queue time becomes a concern on premise.
What are the important factors when selecting a cloud environment for HPC?
Not all cloud service providers are made equal. Some clouds are not built for high-performance computing and cannot guarantee optimal performance at peak periods of demanding workloads. The four characteristics to look for while choosing a cloud service are as follows:
- Performance at the cutting edge: Your cloud provider should have and maintain the most recent generation of processors, storage, and network technology. Make certain that they have substantial capacity and top-tier performance that meets or exceeds typical on-premise deployments.
- HPC expertise: The cloud provider you choose should have extensive experience executing HPC workloads for a wide range of clients. Furthermore, their cloud service should be designed to work well even during peak moments, such as while running several simulations or models. In many circumstances, bare metal computer instances outperform virtual machines in terms of consistency and power.
- There are no hidden costs: Cloud services are often provided on a pay-as-you-go basis, so ensure that you understand exactly what you’ll be paying for each time you use the service.
What is the future of high-performance computing?
Businesses and organizations in a variety of industries are turning to HPC, fueling development that is anticipated to last for many years. The worldwide high-performance computing industry is predicted to grow from US$31 billion in 2017 to US$50 billion in 2023. As cloud performance continues to improve and become more dependable and powerful, much of the predicted increase will be in cloud-based HPC installations, which will relieve enterprises of the need to spend millions in data center hardware and related expenditures.
Expect big data and HPC to converge in the near future, with the same massive cluster of computers utilized to analyze big data and execute simulations and other HPC tasks. As these two trends converge, more processing power and capacity will be available for each, resulting in even more revolutionary research and innovation.
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