Skip to main content


Association for Computing Machinery at the University of South Carolina

What makes a Supercomputer "Super"?

Swearingen Engineering Center, room 2A17

William Hobbs

You may have heard of supercomputers owned by governments or corporations, or seen imposing pictures of walls lined with cabinets, flashing lights, and big bundles of cables that run the length of entire floors. But what do these cabinets and cables represent? What are supercomputers really used for, and why do we need them?

In this talk, I'm going to talk about my experience working through the USC Research Computing cluster and at Berkeley National Lab, which runs the 5th-fastest supercomputer in the world. We'll look at some projects that have been run on supercomputers and how users can run jobs on these systems, and I'll show you how you can get an account on the research computing cluster here and start playing around with parallel coding and running your own jobs.