Linpack benchmark definition

The Linpack benchmark is a method of measuring the floating point rate of execution of a computer by running a program that solves a system of linear equations. Linpack was originally developed by Jack Dongarra to give computer users an idea of the time it would take a machine to solve complex problems in linear algebra. The results of the Linpack benchmark can be used to estimate the speed with which a computer is likely to run an individual program or multiple programs.

Because Linpack performs tests in a specialized way (solving sets of multivariable equations), it is more accurate for some programs than for others. In order to gain a true understanding of how fast a computer executes a specific application program, or to compare the performance of one computer with others for use with a particular application, the ideal approach is to test each machine by running the application in question. Linpack is nevertheless useful as an overall benchmark and has gained wide acceptance as a general method of evaluating computer and supercomputer performance.

This was first published in December 2005

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