HPC Carpentry: Important step forward in HPC training

Maciej Cytowski, Pawsey Supercomputing Centre

If you’ve been ever involved in High Performance Computing training as a trainer or as a participant, then you are probably familiar with main challenges we meet. How to address the broad range of learners experience? How to make the materials more accessible to different groups of researchers? How to include multiple hands-on exercises within a limited time frame?

One of the solutions developed recently is the HPC Carpentry, a set of teaching materials designed to help new users take advantage of high-performance computing systems (https://hpc-carpentry.github.io). HPC Carpentry is a worldwide open-source effort with contribution from numerous HPC institutions and individuals from Canada, Germany, UK, USA and others. The concept, current status and future plans were presented by Andy Turner (EPCC, UK) in a SIGHPC Education Chapter webinar on 30th July 2018, which you can watch here.

The main idea of HPC Carpentry is to adopt the carpentry training model (e.g. Software Carpentry https://software-carpentry.org) for High Performance Computing training. Currently available material is composed of modules covering, among others: login and data transfers, understanding HPC jargon, HPC architectures, file systems, modules and job schedulers. As Andy Turner emphasised, a lot of attention is currently paid to the ease of adapting HPC Carpentry materials for different systems. Another important challenge is to make the material more accessible to different audiences. For those particular purposes HPC Carpentry is developing an automated customisation solution with which trainers will be able to produce a site-specific training materials based on a single configuration file. This is made possible thanks to the high modularisation of the content. Looking forward, HPC Carpentry will enable not only site-specific customisation but also replacement of hands-on exercises to address particular research areas (e.g. material sciences or social sciences).

HPC Carpentry is an open initiative and there are a lots of ways to get involved: by teaching it, developing it, helping to maintain it or just by suggesting improvements.

We are looking forward to hearing from you!

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