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|“||[a] computer operating method under which two or more processors are linked and execute multiple programs simultaneously.||”|
Some computers may divide their work between one or more separate CPUs, creating a multiprocessing configuration. Traditionally, this technique was utilized only in large and powerful computers such as supercomputers, mainframe computers and servers. However, multiprocessor and multi-core (multiple CPUs on a single integrated circuit) personal and laptop computers have become widely available and are beginning to see increased usage in lower-end markets as a result.
Supercomputers in particular often have highly unique architectures that differ significantly from the basic stored program architecture and from general purpose computers. They often feature thousands of CPUs, customized high-speed interconnects, and specialized computing hardware. Such designs tend to be useful only for specialized tasks due to the large scale of program organization required to successfully utilize most of a the available resources at once. Supercomputers usually see usage in large-scale simulations, graphics rendering, and cryptography applications.
- ↑ Auditing and Financial Management: Glossary of EDP Terminology, at 11.
- ↑ However, it is also very common to construct supercomputers out of many pieces of cheap commodity hardware — usually individual computers connected by networks. These so-called computer clusters can often provide supercomputer performance at a much lower cost than customized designs. While custom architectures are still used for most of the most powerful supercomputers, there has been a proliferation of cluster computers in recent years.
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