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I don't have an high-end machine on which run my simulation (Python + C extensions, based on numpy for calculations)

Thus I intend to run the program on my PC, for several hours. I won't use the computer during the simulation, but many other processes run in background anyway

Will those other processes running on my Windows () computer harm the performance, generally speaking? Or is it a marginal factor?

(sorry if it's the wrong site, but I don't know whom to ask)

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I am assuming that your computer is multi-core. In that case your operating system will probably delegate those background processes to one of the cores not being used by your simulation. If your simulation is parallel however (e.g. uses openMP) then background processes could potentially cause some slow down. In my experience minor background processes don't seem to cause serious slow down though. You could also do some tests by running with and without background processes and report back to let us know.

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    $\begingroup$ It could still slow things down if the simulation is primarily limited by memory bandwidth (as is the case for a lot of matrix operations) $\endgroup$ – Nick Alger Jun 17 '15 at 2:52
  • $\begingroup$ Thank you, @NickAlger is right, I'm moving a lot of memory around Regarding the tests, if I knew how to run my simulation without other processes I'd have done it already :D before bother to find a way to do it, I wanted to know if it was useful or not $\endgroup$ – mattecapu Jun 18 '15 at 11:39
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If you just want the computational results and aren't running benchmarking tests then this isn't a serious problem. If you're trying to benchmark the performance of the code and get repeatable run times for comparisons with a an alternate version of the code, then this can be an issue.

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  • $\begingroup$ thank you, i'm only interested in fast execution, benchmarking is not a major issue $\endgroup$ – mattecapu Jun 18 '15 at 11:35

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