Terms by Wikipedia Benchmark - In computing, a benchmark is the act of running a computer program, a set of programs, or other operations, in order to assess the relative performance of an object, normally by running a number of standard tests and trials against it. The term 'benchmark' is also mostly utilized for the purposes of elaborately-designed benchmarking programs themselves. Benchmarking is usually associated with assessing performance characteristics of computer hardware, for example, the floating point operation performance of a CPU, but there are circumstances when the technique is also applicable to software. Software benchmarks are, for example, run against compilers or database management systems. Another type of test program, namely test suites or validation suites, are intended to assess the correctness of software.
Benchmark purpose - As computer architecture advanced, it became more difficult to compare the performance of various computer systems simply by looking at their specifications. Therefore, tests were developed that allowed comparison of different architectures. For example, Core 2 processors generally operate at a higher clock frequency than Athlon II X2 processors, which does not necessarily translate to more computational power. A slower processor, with regard to clock frequency, can perform as well as a processor operating at a higher frequency.
Types of benchmarks - Real program (word processing software, tool software of CDA, user's application software), Kernel (contains key codes, normally abstracted from actual program, popular kernel: Livermore loop, linpack benchmark, results are represented in MFLOPS), Component Benchmark/ micro-benchmark (programs designed to measure performance of a computer's basic components, automatic detection of computer's hardware parameters like number of registers, cache size, memory latency), Synthetic Benchmark (take statistics of all type of operations from plenty of application programs, get proportion of each operation, write a program based on the proportion above, Whetstone, Dhrystone), I/O benchmarks, Parallel benchmarks (used on machines with multiple processors or systems consisting of multiple machines).
Benchmarking - Benchmarking is the process of comparing the business processes and performance metrics including cost, cycle time, productivity, or quality to another that is widely considered to be an industry standard benchmark or best practice. Essentially, benchmarking provides a snapshot of the performance of your business and helps you understand where you are in relation to a particular standard. The result is often a business case and "Burning Platform" for making changes in order to make improvements. The term benchmarking was first used by cobblers to measure people's feet for shoes. They would place someone's foot on a "bench" and mark it out to make the pattern for the shoes. Benchmarking is most used to measure performance using a specific indicator (cost per unit of measure, productivity per unit of measure, cycle time of x per unit of measure or defects per unit of measure) resulting in a metric of performance that is then compared to others.