(Note: Personal Computer = Laptop)

When reading papers that involves some sort of numerical simulation of a software or custom code, many authors would remark on the specifications of the laptop for which the simulation is conducted. For instance.

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Can someone enlighten me as to

What are some of the common specifications should you report? There seems to be no comprehensive list of specs that one must report. For example, the # of cores of your laptop, the brand/series, and RAM as shown above and ... what else, clock speed, frequency of your processor...

Can someone provide additional insights on how these specifications come into play when you are trying to reproduce or compare results? For example, if I simulated some algorithm on a dual core AMDdual opteron processor 275 with 32 GB RAM and try to compare it with the same algorithm quadcore Intel Core i7-2600 with 16 GB RAM, how do I go about commenting on how the simulation platforms affect the simulation results? i.e. does Bigger RAM necessarily means shorter simulation time? Does quadcore laptop necessary implies that the algorithm performs better compared to dual core laptops?

  • 1
    It depends largely on what you're simulating, to be honest. Machine learning and AI, obviously better specs lead to better performance, but if you were running a simulation entirely in Java, it boxes its own machine so running it on a gaming rig versus a notebook would likely lead to almost identical performance with default VM settings.
    – Compass
    Feb 9, 2017 at 21:34
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    The details are not there to enable a completely scientific comparison or benchmarking across different machines, it's just to give other researchers a rough sense of the computational resources that were used/available in case they are considering trying to replicate or modify your simulation or compare it with their own code. You should report anything that seems relevant, e.g., if your code is GPU-based then include the specs of your GPU, if not then don't. If the color of the box the machine comes in matters, report it, otherwise don't. Etc.
    – Dan Romik
    Feb 9, 2017 at 22:04
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    This question is ideally suited for scicomp.SE. Feb 10, 2017 at 0:42
  • 2
    @eykanal I didn't say it was off topic, and I didn't vote to close as such. I stand by exactly what I said. Feb 10, 2017 at 4:18
  • 1
    @DavidKetcheson eykanal didn't say that you said it was off topic, so I suspect he also stands by what he said.
    – Dan Romik
    Feb 10, 2017 at 8:43


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