High Performance Computing (HPC) used to be the exclusive domain of supercomputing national labs and advanced researchers.
This is no longer the case.
Costs have come down, complexity has been reduced, and off-the-shelf solutions are being built to exploit multiple processors these days. This means that users with large compute needs — which, in an information-rich world, are becoming quite common — can now use techniques pioneered by the HPC community to solve their everyday problems.
Sure, there’s still the bleeding edge of HPC — my Grandma isn’t using a petascale computer (yet). All the national labs and advanced researchers are still hanging out at the high-end of HPC, pushing the state of the art to get faster and bigger results that simply weren’t possible before.