Definitions (click to expand)

• Bandwidth

The maximum data transfer rate of a connection (network or internet).

• Byte

A group of adjacent binary digits operated upon as a unit (usually connotes a group of eight bits).


Computer-Aided Design (software)

• Cluster

A group of connected computers. Usually refers to computers connected together to perform a similar function.

• Computing nodes

Where the actual work is done. A small cluster can be 4 nodes.

• Core

An individual CPU on a computer chip. For example a "dual core " microprocessor is one chip that contains two processors


"Domain Name System" A system for converting host and domain names into IP addresses on networks and/or the internet.

• Fiber Channel

(Or FC) Fiber Channel cable is made up of thin strands of glass. Information moves down the glass in light waves. Typical speeds are 2Gb, 4Gb, 8Gb 16Gb, and soon 32 Gb. Fiber Channel is widely used in the enterprise and is usually makes up the backbone of the network.

• Flops

"Floating point operations per second". A measurement for rating the speed of microprocessors. Floating point operations include operations that involve fractional numbers as opposed to integer only operations.

• Gb

Gigabit. One million bits

• GB

Gigabyte. One million bytes

• GbE

Gigabit Ethernet. An Ethernet measurement. For example an Ethernet switch transmits at 1 Gbps

• Gbps

Gigabits per second. Measure of network transfer speed.

• GBps

Gigabytes per second. Measure of high-speed serial data transfers

• Gflops

Gigaflops. One billion floating point operations per second


Graphical User Interface

• Head Node

The head node is the main node in a cluster. It is the heart of a cluster. It handles all the communication with the other nodes. It also handles DNS service, network management and other function of a network server. In smaller clusters, it may also handle job control and scheduling.


High Performance Computing


High Performance Business Computing


High Performance Technical Computing

• IP

Internet Protocol. A standard set of rules for transferring data through the internet


Internet Small Computer Systems Interface. Protocol used to transfer data from storage devices over Ethernet cable SCSI

• Java

Programming language that is a popular choice for programming web applications

• Job Node

In medium to larger clusters, you will find a node whose function is to control the job that is being performed by the cluster. The Job Node will take the data and split it up between the compute nodes for processing. If a node fails the Job node will reassign that data to a different node. It also reassembles the processed data and sends the answer back to the user.

• Kernel

The core software of an operating system providing the most basic services

• Linux

A freely distributed open source operating system


Local Area Network. Generally contained within a building or complex.

• Mb

Megabit. One million bits

• MB

Megabyte. One million bytes.

• Mbps

Megabits per second. Used to measure data transfer rates.

• MBps

Megabytes per second. Used to measure data transfer rates.

• Metadata

Data that describes other data. For example, Information such as author, creation date, format that describes a data set.

• Mflops

Megaflops. One million floating point operations per second

• Node

A single named host in a cluster

• OS

Operating system


Storage area network

• Socket

In terms of the Job Scheduler service, a socket is a set of processors with a dedicated memory bus. This is also known as a non-uniform memory access (NUMA) node.

• Storage Node

Manages data going between the storage device and the cluster. Mostly used in an environment where multiple users are sending multiple jobs to the cluster.

• Tb

Terabit. One trillion bits

• TB

Terabyte. One trillion bytes

• Tbps

Terabits per second

• TBps

Terabytes per second


Virtual private network


Wide area network. Generally covers a wide geographic area.