Today, parallel processing solves some of our biggest problems in much the same way that settlers of the Old West solved their biggest problems using parallel oxen. If they were using an ox to move a tree and the ox was not big enough or strong enough, they certainly didn’t try to grow a bigger ox—they used two oxen. If our computer isn’t fast enough or powerful enough, instead of trying to develop a faster, more powerful computer, why not simply use multiple computers? This is precisely what parallel computing does. The first parallel processing systems were built in the late 1960s and had only two processors. The 1970s saw the introduction of supercomputers with as many as 32 processors, and ...

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