We have provided two computer programs that help students see the impact of parallel processing. The first is a "Linear to Parallel Calculator" where the student enters how long it would take one person to complete a task, asks how many people will work as a group on the task, then calculates how long it will take the group to complete the task. The second is a "Parallel Speed Demonstration Program" that simulates parallel processing. It displays to the monitor the first 60 factorial numbers in 60 seconds, then shows as if 10 processors are doing it in 6 seconds, then as if 100 processors are doing it in less than 1 second. Both are compiled and ready for use on an Intel CPU machine (compiled for use on Windows OS).
Download the executable files here:
An interesting activity would be to join a group that is using thousands of personal microcomputers via Internet connections for parallel processing. Several distributed processing projects are listed in the "FLOPS" article on Widipedia. One such group is the "Great Internet Mersenne Prime Search -GIMPS".
A link to the GIMPS web site is here
Another activity is to "Google" some keywords. Be careful -"Googling" can be confusing and often can be difficult to focus on the precise subject that you want.
- high performance computing
- computational science
- distributed processing