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High-Performance Computing

  • By: Tong Zhang & Piotr Jankowski
  • In: Encyclopedia of Geography
  • Edited by: Barney Warf
  • Subject:General Geography, Earth & Environmental Science

High-performance computing (HPC) is an approach for handling computationally demanding tasks that are beyond the computing capabilities of a single processor. The complexity of geographic problems creates an urgent need for high-performance computing. High-performance geocomputation is a new frontier that combines expertise from geocomputation (the art and science of solving complex spatial problems with computers) and HPC.

A widely acknowledged measure for high performance is floating point operations per second (FLOPS). High-performance computers have the computing capabilities of teraFLOPS (1 × 1012 FLOPS) or even petaFLOPS (1 × 1015 FLOPS). Currently, parallel computing is the mainstream of HPC. Parallel processing aims to improve computational performance by executing the same task with multiple processors simultaneously. A more recent parallel-computing trend is cluster computing, which takes advantage of ...

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