A Beginner's Guide to High-Performance Computing
By Rubin H. Landau
Oregon State University
This module presents some of the general ideas behind and basic principles of high-performance
computing (HPC) as performed on a supercomputer. These concepts should remain valid even as
the technical specifications of the latest machines continually change. Although this material
is aimed at HPC supercomputers, if history be a guide, present HPC hardware and software
become desktop machines in less than a decade.
Upon completion of this module, students should be able to:
Understand in a general sense the architecture of high performance computers.
Understand how the architecture of high performance computers affects the speed of
programs run on HPCs.
Understand how memory access affects the speed of HPC programs.
Understand Amdahl's law for parallel and serial computing.
Understand the importance of communication overhead in high performance computing.
Understand some of the general types of parallel computers.
Understand how different types of problems are best suited for different types of parallel
Understand some of the practical aspects of message passing on MIMD machines.
The documents can be downloaded below.