What is High Performance and High Throughput Computing?

High Performance Computing (HPC) is a somewhat ambiguous term. In fact, Wikipedia doesn’t even have a dedicated page for HPC, instead they redirect related searches to the Supercomputer page. Wikipedia defines a Supercomputer as “…a computer at the frontline of contemporary processing capacity – particularly speed of calculation.” We consider high performance computing to be when a large amount of high end resources are required to complete the task in a reasonable amount of time. By large, we mean dozens, hundreds, or thousands of CPU’s. By high end resources, we mean the many cores per CPU with dozens or hundreds of gigabytes of RAM for each CPU. High performance computing tends to be performed by scientists and researchers in the biotech, geological, and astronomy spaces. Things like gene sequencing, oil discovery, and weather forecasting.

High Performance Computing

High Throughput Computing (HTC) is more ambiguous, but more simple. Interestingly, Wikipedia does have a dedicated page for HTC, and considers it a type of HPC. According to Wikipedia, HTC describes “the use of many computing resources over long periods of time to accomplish a computational task.” We’d say, high throughput computing is when a task is so big, it requires a large amount of resources, but those resources can be basic. You don’t need high end CPU’s with lots of RAM…you just need lots of computers. Dozens, hundreds, or thousands of computers. High throughput computing tends to be things like web crawling, where millions of different web sites need to be scrapped of their data. One computer wouldn’t do this well, but 1,000 basic cloud systems would make quick work of the task. Another common example is video encoding–taking a video in one format and converting it into many others. Web sites that host video have to do this thousands of times each day. Its not a particularly complex compute task, they just have to do it a bunch of times.

high throughput computing

When all is said and done, both HPC and HTC require the power of dozens, hundreds, and sometimes thousands of computers. Those computers might be physical (your own datacenter) or virtual (in the cloud). Regardless, CPUsage can help you quickly and easily consume the power of dozens, hundreds, or thousands of computers for your high performance or high throughput computing tasks. Want to learn more? Check out our homepage for more!

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