High Performance Computing

By Kaitlin Logie, 17th December 2016

What is High Performance Computing (HPC)?

Also known as ‘Super Computing’, HPC is a tool that allows you to use and access some of the country’s most powerful computers! It has two roles. The first is is to greatly boost investigators’ ability to tackle large, difficult problems. The second is to enable current research to be carried out much faster. HPC allows the extremely efficient use of New Zealand’s most powerful computers for scientific purposes.


(image by Argonne National)

How could HPC benefit my research?

HPC can greatly increase the speed and size of processing scientific workloads of researchers. Especially those with large amounts of data. Some home computers, or even those accessible on campus can have too weak of hardware to process huge workloads. HPC does this with ease and efficiency. This drastically boosts research performance on a grand scale. Not only this but HPC opens doors for the ability to be able to simulate HUGE scenarios with ease and generate gigantic amounts of data in a reasonable amount of time.

HPC can be used for:

  • Data storage and analysis.
  • Data mining.
  • Simulations.
  • Modelling.
  • Software Development.
  • Visualisation of complex or big data.
  • Rapid mathematical calculations.
  • Conduct large scale research analysis.



(image by Nestlé)

HPC is not rocket science!

If you’ve never done this before, you will need to learn new things. But these “things” are very simple and easy to learn! An HPC machine is more complex than a simple desktop computer — but don’t be intimidated! The basics aren’t that much more difficult to grasp, and there are lots of companies (big and small) out there that can provide as much or as little help as you need. You have all of the elements you will find on your desktop — processors, memory, disk, operating system — just more of them. High performance computers of interest to small and medium-sized businesses today are really clusters of computers.


(image by ibmphoto24)

How can i find out more? Who do I contact for help with my research?

NESI! New Zealand eScience Infrastructure.

NESI is New Zealand’s computing research infrastructure. They provide high performance computers and support systems to enable the country’s researchers to tackle the world’s largest problems.

They provide service, help and one on one consultation to help researchers understand exactly how to go about using HPC and how it can benefit them.

Contact support@nesi.org.nz for more information!

Otherwise come along to one of our Hacky Hours and we will help you as best we can.

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