Third Workshop on Strategies for Enhancing HPC Education and Training (SEHET20)

Monday July 27, 2020
Time: 1:00 PM - 5 PM (PST)

01:00 PM-1:20 PM Welcome SIGHPC Education Chapter

Nitin Sukhija, Slippery Rock University of Pennsylvania
1:20 PM -3:00 PM Paper Session
1:20 PM -1:40 PM " Creating a Platform for Self-Service Learning and Collaboration in the Rapidly Changing Environment of Research Computing". Julie Ma, Torey Battelle, Katia Bulekova, John Goodhue, Aaron Culich and Jacob Pessin
Ask.CI, the Q&A site for Research Computing, was launched at PEARC18 with the goal of aggregating answers to a broad spectrum of questions that are commonly asked by the research computing community. As researchers, facilitators, staff, students, and others ask and answer questions on Ask.CI, they create a shared knowledge base for the larger community. For smaller institutions, the knowledge base provided by Ask.CI provides a wealth of knowledge that was previously not readily available to scientists and educators in an easily searchable Q&A format. For larger institutions, this self-service model frees up time for facilitators and cyberinfrastructure engineers to focus on more advanced subject matter. Recognizing that answers evolve rapidly with new technology and discovery, Ask.CI has built in voting mechanisms that utilize crowdsourcing to ensure that information stays up to date. Establishing a Q&A site of this nature requires some tenacity. In partnership with the Campus Champions, Ask.CI has gained traction, and continues to engage the broader community to establish the platform as a powerful tool for research computing. Since launch, Ask.CI has attracted over 250,000 page views (currently averaging nearly 5,000 per week), more than 400 contributors, hundreds of topics, and a broad audience that spans the US and parts of Europe and Asia. Ask.CI has shown steady growth in both contributions and audience since it was launched in 2018, and is still evolving. In the past year, we introduced "Locales," which allow institutions to create subcategories on Ask.CI where they can experiment with posting institution-specific content and use of the site as a component of their user support strategy.
1:40 PM -2:00 PM "The design of a practical flipped classroom model for teaching parallel programming to undergraduates". Dirk Colbry
This paper presents a newly developed course for teaching parallel programming to undergraduates. This course uses a flipped classroom model and a “hands-on” approach to learning with multiple real-world examples from a wide range of science and engineering problems. The intention of this course is to prepare students from a variety of STEM backgrounds to be able to take on supportive roles in research labs while they are still undergraduates. To this end, students are taught common programming paradigms such as benchmarking, shared memory parallelization (OpenMP), accelerators (CUDA) and shared network parallelization (MPI). Students are also trained in practical skills including the Linux command line, workflow/file management, installing software, discovering and using shared module systems (LDMOD), and effectively submitting and monitoring jobs using a scheduler (SLURM).
2:00 PM -2:20 PM "Challenges and Solutions with Container Education in a High Performance Computing Environment". Matthew Bradley
A constant struggle for any high performance computing (HPC) center is offering versatility and freedom to power users while simultaneously maintaining a simple and approachable environment for new users. Containerization solutions like Docker, Singularity, and others allow users to minimize problems and potential headaches when migrating platforms and navigating complex software dependencies while offering power users virtually unlimited freedom. However, educating inexperienced HPC users on OS-level virtualization can be a significantly challenging. At the Jackson Laboratory (JAX), we have embarked on a mission to simplify the use of containers and provide the proper education, training, and resources to make Singularity accessible to even our most novice HPC users. As a biotechnology research organization, JAX's community of HPC users and their applications are focused within a specific scientific domain, and users have tremendous range in experience, providing a focused and detailed look at HPC in biological research.
2:20 PM -2:40 PM "Creative Assessment Design on a Master of Science Degree in Professional Software Development". Cathryn Peoples
A MSc conversion degree is one which retrains students in a new subject area. This type of programme opens new opportunities to students beyond those gained through their originally chosen degree. Students entering a conversion degree do so, in a number of cases, to improve career options, which might mean moving from an initially chosen path to gain skills in a field that they now consider to be more attractive. With a core goal of improving future employability prospects, specific requirements are therefore placed on the learning outcomes achieved from the course content and delivery. In this paper, the learning outcomes are focused on the transferable skills intended to be gained as a result of the assessment design, disseminated to a cohort of students on a Master of Science (MSc) degree in Professional Software Development at Ulster University, United Kingdom. Coursework submissions are explored to demonstrate how module learning has been applied, creatively.
2:40 PM -3:00 PM "Promoting HPC Best Practices With the POP Methodology". Fouzhan Hosseini and Craig Lucas
The performance of HPC applications depends on a wide range of factors including algorithms, programming models, library and language implementations and hardware. To make the problem even more complicated, many HPC applications inherit different layers of legacy code, written and optimized for a different era of computing technologies. Due to this complexity, the task of understanding performance bottlenecks of a HPC application and making improvements often ends up being a daunting trial and error process. The problem is that often this process starts without having a quantitative understanding of the actual behavior of the HPC application. The Performance Optimisation and Productivity (POP) Centre of Excellence, funded by the EU under the Horizon 2020 Research and Innovation Programme, attempts to establish a quantitative methodology for the assessment of parallel codes. This methodology is based on a set of hierarchical metrics, where the metrics at the bottom of the hierarchy represent common causes of poor HPC performance. These metrics provide a standard, objective way to characterise different aspects of the performance of parallel codes and therefore provide the necessary foundation for establishing a more systematic approach for performance optimization of HPC applications. In consequence, the POP methodology facilitates training new HPC performance analysts. In this paper, we will illustrates these advantages by describing two real-world examples where we used the POP methodology to help HPC users understand performance bottlenecks of their code.
3:00 PM -3:20 PM Q/A
3:20 PM -3:30 PM Break
3:30 PM -5:00 PM Discussion Session
3:30 PM -4:30 PM Panel: "Best Practices for Online HPC Training"
Dhruva Chakravorty (Texas A & M University), Julie Mullen (MIT Lincoln Laboratory), Leon Kos (University of Ljubljani), Bryan Johnston(Centre for High Performance Computing, South Africa, Mozhgan Kabiri Chimeh (NVIDIA), and Weronika Filinger (University of Edinburgh))
4:30 PM -5 PM Break-out Sessions
Next Steps and Action Plans