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High Performance Computing generally uses large arrays of computers connected in clusters or grids.

HPC systems usually come in 3 varieties:

  1. Supercomputers.
  2. Cluster computers, sometimes called Beowulf clusters are generally built out of a number of regular computers in order to get the throughput of supercomputers.
  3. Grid computers, are also generally built out of a number of regular computers.

The main difference between Grids and Clusters have to do with the communication between computing nodes (a node will be a CPU core). If there will be a lot of communication, one generally calls it a cluster. In contrast, Grids tend to have little communication between nodes.