HPC Trivia: 7 Questions to Test Your HPC Knowledge

TrivialPursuitI like quizzes; therefore I thought it would be fun to do a quick HPC quiz. Rather than go with a full-bore quizzing system, I thought I would have some fun with interactive pulldowns. Sure, you can cheat, but this is more for the exercise of seeing if you know much about the history of HPC, as deemed important by me. If this were for cash and prizes, we’d take more precaution, but we’ll just leave it to bragging rights.

Take the quiz, have fun, look it up if you must cheat, and feel free to post your answers in the comments below. Enjoy!

Hint: If you’ve read “5 HPC Buzzwords Defined,” you should get at least one of these questions right!

1. What was widely considered the first supercomputer?

A. 1929, Large Custom Tabulators at Columbia University – IBM
2. 1964, CDC 6400
D. 1976, Cray-1
5. 1985, Cray-2

Reveal Answer

Answer: 2. The CDC 6400. The supercomputer was designed by Semour Cray, as were options D. and 5., after he left CDC to form Cray Research in 1972.

2. Which of the following Supercomputers uses a 3D Torus network topology?

A. Cray XT3
2. IBM BlueGene
D. Fujitsu K-Computer
5. All of the above

Reveal Answer

Answer: 5. All of the above. Although the Fujitsu uses Tofu – a 6 dimensional torus, rather than the 5 dimensional torus of the Cray and BlueGene.

3. What was the first petaflop supercomputer?

A. Roadrunner, Los Alamos National Lab – IBM BladeCenter QS22/LS21 Cluster
2. Jaguar, Oak Ridge National Laboratory – Cray XT5
D. Kraken, NICS / University of Tennessee Knoxville – Cray XT5
5. BlueGene/L – DOE / LLNL – IBM BlueGene/L

Reveal Answer

Answer: A. Roadrunner. LANL received this designation from the Top 500 in June of 2008, and held onto it until it was toppled by Jaguar in November of 2009.

4. The first 100 petaflop supercomputer was recently announced. In what country will this computer be deployed?

A. United States
2. Japan
D. China
5. Germany

Reveal Answer

Answer: D. China. The Tianhe-2, will achieve 100 petaflops and is slated to be completed in 2015.

5. At current rates of petaflop increases, the first exascale computer will be deployed in what year?

A. 2017
2. 2018
D. 2019
5. 2020

Reveal Answer

Answer: 2. 2018. In conjunction with China’s 100 petaflop announcement, they announced plans to have a 1 exaflop system online by 2018.

6. What does PBS stand for (in the context of high performance computing)?

A. Performance Based Scheduler
2. Project Batch Scheduler
D. Performance Benchmarking System
5. Portable Batch System

Reveal Answer

Answer: 5. Portable Batch System. The original PBS project spin-offs include TORQUE, Open PBS and PBS Professional.

7. If you and 1,000 of your friends were really fast, and could write out 1 floating point operation per second (FLOPS), how long would it take you to rival 1 second on a Petaflop supercomputer?

A. 17 years
2. 3170 years
D. 31,709 years
5. 317,000 years

Reveal Answer

Answer: D. 31,709 years, rounded down. Arguably, this is a math question. But, if you know HPC, you have to at least know some math, right?


As an HPC expert, we’re sure you scored a 100% on our HPC trivia quiz! Want to boast your bragging rights and test your friends? Make sure to click the share button and pass this post along to your friends.

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