What Are HPC Networks?

High-performance computing (HPC) networks are different from traditional or usual online networks. HPC networks use advanced hardware and software, streamlining data processes and deliveries. The primary advantages of HPC networks are speed, cost, flexible model deployment, and fault tolerance. 

Bear in mind that fast calculations lead to higher performance. The networking configuration of the HPC system determines its efficiency and speed. In today’s article, we will discuss HPC networks and highlight essential features of a network. Read on! 

HPC Network Topologies 

Topology refers to the configuration or method for interconnected nodes. It is an essential factor that helps in HPC networks design. It focuses on considering various factors, such as wire length and packaging constraints. An HPC network topology must focus on high performance for numerous applications. The most common topologies for an HPC network are: 

  • Point to Point: It refers to an HPC network with each node connected to every other
  • Bus: It is a shared medium that scales ineffectively because it requires arbitration
  • Grid or Mesh: It involves nodes in dim and dimensionality and has a configuration of binary 3-cube mesh. 
  • Torus: It is a mesh network that involves wrapped-around edges. A one-dimensional torus is called a ring network. Wire length is an essential factor in the torus network 
  • Indirect Networks: These networks include CLOS, butterfly, and FAT Tree. Besides, they have terminal and intermediate switch nodes 

Static Routing and Flow Control 

High-performance computing (HPC) networks have a static routing. These don’t work effectively with adaptive routines, leading to a deadlock and reduced performance. HPC experts use adaptive routing for fault tolerance. Another feature of an HPC network is virtual-cut-through flow control. It includes wormhole routing or store-and-forward routing. 

Customized Hardware Design and Interconnects 

HPC network hardware has a custom design, and there are proprietary interconnects in the top-tier systems. Bear in mind that this includes custom hardware and software. Cray Gemini interconnect is an example of customized software and hardware. 

In addition, the router has an essential part, known as the radix. It refers to the number of input/output ports. High-radix routers have become popular in recent years due to advanced and streamlined technology. Some of the most interconnects in HPC networks are Gemini, Sea-Star, Tofu, 10GigE, 40GigE, and InfiniBand. 

Message Passing Interface – Software

Message passing is an essential component of large-scale parallel processing because big machines have a distributed-memory design. It carries out the message passing in libraries. The most popular and prominent library is the message passing interface or MPI. 

Although MPI is just an interface, it involves numerous implementations. For example, these include Open-MPI and MPICH/2. Moreover, companies focus more on distributed-shared memory, a model with message passing that goes on behind the curtains. 

PGAS stands for Partitioned Global Address Space, languages used to develop such message-passing models. Other considerations or essential features for HPC networks include wire, pin, and area constraints. It would help if you also focused on the packaging costs. 

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