Teaching Scientific Computing With The TeraGrid

I have been reading a presentation by Loffler et al. (2011) given at the TeraGrid 11 conference in Salt Lake City on a Graduate Course taught at Louisiana State University during Fall 2010. The course aimed to teach high-performance computing techniques, and used the TeraGrid as an integral part of the class. You may download the talk here:  Using the TeraGrid to Teach Scientific Computing-1

The class covered basic skills, including Numerical Methods, Vector Algebra, Basic Visualization, and Best Programming and Software Engineering practices. These skills are used in studying Networks and Data, Simulations & Application Frameworks, Scientific Visualization and Distributed Scientific Computing.

Students were given hands-on experience at running simulation codes on the TeraGrid, including codes to model black holes, predict the effects of hurricanes and optimize oil and gas production from underground reservoirs. Here is a summary of what was taught on simulations, taken verbatim from the talk:


  • What is a simulation?
  • Example of an initial value problem
  • Typical work-flows on supercomputers, especially TeraGrid, such as batch processing, computing time allocations and login procedures
  • Usage of Cactus code: assemble, configure, build and execute across many cores within TeraGrid
  • Follow Einstein Toolkit tutorial to use physics example code on TeraGrid
  • Visualization of simulation results.”

This class is a very good example of the kind of class that I think needs to a mandatory part of graduate education in this era of “Big Data” astronomy.

This entry was posted in cyberinfrastructure, education, High performance computing, information sharing, Parallelization, programming, software engineering, software maintenance, software sustainability and tagged , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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