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Glossary of Cluster Terms

CPU, or “central processing unit” – A computer component responsible for running the necessary functions of the computer like programs, the operating system, etc. Could be called the “brain” of the computer.

Core – A part of the CPU. CPUs are essentially a collection of cores, where the cores are the processors that actually make the CPU work. CPUs have different numbers of cores in them, depending upon the CPU model.

GPU, “graphics processing unit”, or “graphics card” – A computer component dedicated to processing graphics like those found in video games, animations, data visualizations, etc. GPUs are often used for non-graphical computing tasks because a single GPU is vastly more powerful than a single CPU (due to the much higher number of cores the GPU has) and because GPUs are particularly good at doing certain mathematical operations.

CPU node – A compute node equipped for running computational jobs on CPUs.

GPU node – A compute node equipped for running computational jobs on GPUs. Equipped on Borah with the same number of CPU cores as a standard compute node.

OS, or “operating system” – A piece of software that allows someone to interface with a computer. Windows, Mac, and Linux are all examples of operating systems.

Condo node – A compute node in a compute cluster purchased by a research lab for their own use. Can be used by others through a certain job queue, but the lab that bought the node will always have priority.