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parallel processing
Last modified: Thursday, October 02, 2003 

The simultaneous use of more than one CPU to execute a program. Ideally, parallel processing makes a program run faster because there are more engines (CPUs) running it. In practice, it is often difficult to divide a program in such a way that separate CPUs can execute different portions without interfering with each other.

Most computers have just one CPU, but some models have several. There are even computers with thousands of CPUs. With single-CPU computers, it is possible to perform parallel processing by connecting the computers in a network. However, this type of parallel processing requires very sophisticated software called distributed processing software.

Note that parallel processing differs from multitasking, in which a single CPU executes several programs at once.

Parallel processing is also called parallel computing.

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For pages about parallel processing . Also check out the following links!

Related Links

Supercomputing and parallel computing index 
Provides links to academic research groups working in the field of supercomputing and parallel computing.

The Center for Research on Parallel Computation (CRPC) home page 
The CRPC is one of the National Science Foundation's 25 Science and Technology Centers and offers this home page with links to information on research areas, knowledge and technology transfer programs, education and outreach, technical publications, and media resources.

Bibliographies on Parallel Processing
A collection of bibliographies on a wide range of parallel processing subjects.

National HPCC Software Exchange (NHSE)
The NHSE site contains links to a colllection of software, documents, data, and information of interest to the high performance and parallel computing community.

Parallel computing information page
Contains a collection of links related to parallel computing including bibliographics, online books, companies, and languages.

Supercomputing and parallel computing resources
A collection of links to conferences and journals, research groups, vendors and supercomputer product information.

The Edinburgh Parallel Computing Center (EPCC) home page
Provides information on EPCC's development pursuits in accelerating the exploitation of parallel computing/processing in academia, industry and commerce.

Yahoo!'s parallel virtual machines page
Yahoo!'s directory of parallel virtual machines.

related categories

Operating Systems


related terms



distributed processing

high-performance computing




scalable parallel processor


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