What is a Supercomputer?

A supercomputer is not simply a fast or very large computer: it works in an entirely different way, typically using parallel processing instead of the serial processing that an ordinary computer uses. Instead of doing one thing at a time, it does many things at once.

A typical modern supercomputer works much more quickly by splitting problems into pieces and working on many pieces at once, which is called parallel processing. It's like arriving at the checkout with a giant cart full of items, but then splitting your items up between several different friends. Each friend can go through a separate checkout with a few of the items and pay separately. Once you've all paid, you can get together again, load up the cart, and leave. The more items there are and the more friends you have, the faster it gets to do things by parallel processing—at least, in theory. Parallel processing is more like what happens in our brains.

Compute Nodes


Storage Systems


Reference: Explain That Stuff: How Supercomputers work