Monthly Archives: December 2016

SIGHPC Education SC16 Recap

Published by:

By the SIGHPC Education Committee

Thank you to all who attended our SC16 BoF. We had over 40 participants! If there’s one thing you do after reading this article, please join our various communities in social media and contribute to the cause.


During this meeting we reviewed the need to share, the effort to promote, and things we could do immediately to improve HPC Education broadly.

David Halstead did quick polls during the meeting where attendees could log into a URL or text responses to questions asked of the group. Then Richard Coffey and David prompted the audience to give us feedback on what topics were important to them. Three main topics came up: 1) repositories for tools, 2) modifying curriculum for HPC, and 3) what can be done immediately.

Scott Lathrop headed up the repository breakout. He and his contributors provided the following:

One of the most important findings of this group was that they are not going to be providing the one repository for all. The group considered how HPC repositories should be cross-linking and providing visibility to their peer repos. Ownership (and piracy/theft) of code examples and curriculum was a concern for some during the discussion. Keeping the repositories fresh and up-to-date is also a challenge. The other thought was how to provide excellent examples to developers of these materials. During the conversation, the SuiteSparse Matrix Collection was proffered up as thorough example: Finally, there was a great deal of delving into classifications of HPC work – the need for specialized, domain specific examples as well as generally classifying and reviewing examples.

The recommendations of this group were:

  • The community should search the problem domains for popular suites like SuiteSparse Matrix Collection
  • A great repository should have the following: data collections, code examples, curricular models, assignments & testing materials
  • HPC Education or others should provide hosting service (shared space) for metadata, pointers, and possibly the data as well
  • This service should have a reviewing process, possibly like a google recommendation
  • There is interest in a more formal review process that can test the ability to replicate the curriculum.
  • Don’t reinvent the wheel! Talk with librarians, creative commons, and other folks who can help with metadata

Richard facilitated the “what can be done immediately” group and reported back these findings:

The general consensus is that there is too much fragmentation on the education and not enough focus. Nearly all of the breakout group members reported they didn’t know about resources such as and There was interest in a survey out to the community asking questions like: what is the HPC maturity of  your students, what are the needs of the instructors/trainers, and how does your organization support HPC education (if at all)? Additioanlly, there was interest in creating a shared virtual office where members of the organization could be called or emailed with questions on how to get going.

David led the modifying curriculum breakout and reported back the following:

There is a need for a standardized and accessible  “Introduction to Computing” to help on-board students and researchers into computing enabled science. The discussion also touched on how to develop consistent templates for undergraduate computing courses. Finally, there was a great deal of interest in mechanisms and  opportunities to “train the trainers”. David reported back that just sitting around talking about curriculum in the open setting helped suss out wheels already invented and lessons learned. Clearly, facilitating a self-help forum has real value for the participants.


Clearly, between the working groups there were common themes. Also, one of the purposes of SIG HPC Education is to help facilitate awareness and provide cross linking. Finally, there’s opportunity for SIG HPC Education to foster opportunities such as hangouts on curriculum and developing a public forum for discussing pedagogy.

Training a new generation of supercomputer users

Published by:

BY: Marta García, 2017 Program Director, Argonne Training Program on Extreme-Scale Computing (ATPESC)

High-performance computing (HPC) education is essential to our community. From evolving programming techniques and numerical algorithms to transformations in HPC architectures and software, our world is moving fast as we continue progressing toward the Exascale Era. But are we ready for it?

Using supercomputers for computational science and engineering (CSE) requires expertise that is not always covered by formal education. To address this gap in professional training, we created the Argonne Training Program on Extreme-Scale Computing (ATPESC). This intense two-week program focuses on the key skills, approaches, and tools needed to conduct CSE research on today’s supercomputers and the extreme-scale systems of the future. For an overview, check out this video on the 2016 program:

ATPESC participants are provided access to hundreds of thousands of cores of computing power on some of today’s most powerful supercomputing resources, including the Argonne Leadership Computing Facility’s Mira and Vesta systems, the Oak Ridge Leadership Computing Facility’s Titan system, and the National Energy Research Scientific Computing Center’s Cori and Edison systems.

While only 65 participants are able to attend ATPESC each year, the entire HPC community can tap into the program’s broad curriculum via the Argonne YouTube Training Channel. In an effort to extend the reach of ATPESC beyond the classroom, program organizers have captured and shared 76 hours of lectures from some of the world’s foremost experts and pioneers in extreme-scale computing.

In the summer of 2017, ATPESC will be back for its fifth year, providing a new group of early career researchers with an opportunity to learn and improve their skills to use extreme-scale computing systems for breakthrough CSE research. If you or someone you know may be interested in attending, stay tuned to the ATPESC website for details on the call for applications in January 2017.

ATPESC is funded by the Exascale Computing Project, which is supported by the DOE Office of Science’s Advanced Scientific Computing Research Program.