parallel processing

   A computing method that can be performed by systems containing two or more processors operating simultaneously. In parallel processing, all processors work on different aspects of the same program at the same time, in order to share the computational load.
   Parallel-processing computers can achieve incredible speeds. The Cray X-MP48 peaks at 1000 million floating-point operations per second (1000 MFLOP) using four extremely powerful processors, and parallelhypercube systems, first marketed by Intel, can exceed 65,536 processors with speeds of up to 262 billion floating-point operations per second (262 GFLOP). In all but the most trivial parallel-processing applications, the programmer or the operating system must assign approximate processor loads; otherwise, it is possible for nonoptimized systems to fail to take advantage of the power available and, in the worst case, run more slowly than on single-processor systems.
   All this speed is used for applications such as weather forecasting, in which the predictive programs can take as long to run as the weather actually takes to arrive, 3-D seismic modeling, groundwater and toxic flow studies, and the modeling of full-motion dinosaur images used in movies.

Dictionary of networking . 2014.

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