High Performance Computing Glossary - C

Computer Aided Design (CAD)

CAD refers to the use of computer systems to aid in the creation, modification, analysis, or optimization of a design. Today CAE applications are complex expert systems for the design and construction of technical solutions. Meanwhile, in almost every CAD application a third dimension was added, so CAD also describes the development of a virtual model of three dimensional objects by means of a computer.

Computer Aided Engineering (CAE)

CAE comprises all computer-based working processes that are used in engineering. CAE areas covered include amongst others stress analysis on components and assemblies using Finite Element Analysis (FEA); Thermal and fluid flow analysis Computational fluid dynamics (CFD); Multibody dynamics (MBD) and Kinematics. In general, there are three phases in any computer-aided engineering task:

  • Pre-processing – defining the model and environmental factors to be applied to it;
  • Analysis solver - usually performed on high powered computers;
  • Post-processing of results using visualization tools.

CAE as a Service (CAEaaS)


Cluster Computing

Cluster computing is a form of distributed computing. A virtual supercomputer is made up of a cluster consisting of loosely linked computers. In order to achieve the desired computing performance, single servers are interconnected. Cluster computing is used in areas, which require high performance computing to solve CPU- intensive problems such as different calculations in computer aided engineering (CAE).

The individual cluster computers are controlled by one central head node and provided with new tasks. A software running on the cluster computer solves a certain part of the task, which will be sent back afterwards to the head node. The head node’s software divides a big task into a number of subtasks and reassembles all partial results after calculating. Hence, a high performance computer system is made of many individual components whereby a symmetric multiprocessor system (SMP) supports the computing power on a long-term basis.


CD-adapco is a global engineering simulation company with a unique vision for Multidisciplinary Design eXploration (MDX). Various simulation tools, led by the flagship product STAR-CCM+®, allow customers to discover better designs, faster. CD-adapco is a Siemens business.

Computational Fluid Dynamics (CFD)

CFD is a branch of fluid mechanics that uses numerical analysis and algorithms to solve and analyze problems that involve fluid flows. Computers are used to perform the calculations required to simulate the interaction of liquids and gases with surfaces defined by boundary conditions. CFD is the cost-effective alternative to experiments in wind tunnels or water channels.


COMSOL was founded in Stockholm, Sweden in 1986. It now provides simulation software for product design and research through a worldwide network of offices and distributors. Its flagship products are software environments for modeling and simulating any physics-based system and for building applications, which can be used at any stage of the product development cycle.

Cores vs. CPUs vs. Nodes

Cores are the individual processor cores of a CPU. Each core mostly has its own resources (incl. level 1 and level 2 caches) and is logically independent of the other cores. Consequently each core can operate separately from the others and can, for example, calculate simulations. Normally a core executes a sequence of consecutive cycles for each process (without sacrificing performance).

The CPU is the actual chip. There are always two CPUs in our compute nodes, and these are therefore deployed on dual socket mainboards. The CPU provides the individual cores, including the level 3 (L3) cache, by means of which data can be exchanged.

A node is the actual “computer” or server, which is mainly defined by the mainboard. A CPU 24/7 node always has two CPUs, each with between 6 and 14 cores, making a total of between 12 and 28 cores.

CPU Socket

The socket is a slot for the processor housing the CPU. It is placed on the system’s motherboard and provides the electrical contact to the CPU.