What is HPC?

High-Performance Computing (HPC) is a technology that employs extremely powerful computing machines (i.e. supercomputers)  to resolve complex problems.

Supercomputers are built using a high number of processors. The implementation of parellel processing makes it possible to resolve problems that are too complex for single processor machines.

CCRT system at CEA TGCC - Courtesy of CEA CADAM


HPC drives scientific research and enables industrial innovation

Scientists use HPC to build models of complex phenomena. They require fast supercomputers in order to resolve problems in the areas of Life Sciences, Physics, Climate research, Engineering and many others. Some of the scientific problems remain unresolved because the computing speed required is still unavailable. The PRACE Scientific Case outlines the scientific challenges that require HPC.

HPC is able to provide a high Return on Investment for businesses. Most of the companies using HPC find it indispensable for its competitive advantage. Companies used to innovate by building HPC models of their products or services, or to streamline their operations. Cars, aircraft, engines, medications are designed with the help of HPC. Complex financial transactions or oil field simulations are managed using HPC-based techniques. Increasingly, SMEs use HPC to innovate aned create new markets. (There are also programmes supporting the adoption of HPC by SMEs - see SHAPE).

HPC is also a tool that can help address the Grand Societal Challenges we are facing:

  • Health, demographic change and well-being
  • Food security, sustainable agriculture and forestry, marine and inland water research, and the Bioeconomy
  • Secure, clean and efficient energy
  • Smart, green and integrated transport
  • Climate action, environment, resource efficiency and raw materials
  • Europe in a changing world - inclusive, innovative and reflective societies
  • Secure societies - protecting freedom and security of Europe and its citizens

Simulation of an earthquake - Courtesy of CEA

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