Magic Castle - Terraforming the cloud to teach HPC

scheduleThursday, February 8, 2024 at 11:00 AM EST

Webinar Recording

Meeting video

Presentation slides

SIGHPC Education Webinar Magic Castle - Terraforming the cloud to teach HPC

Are you new to the world of HPC and are trying to find an affordable and accessible way that you can learn, practice and experiment? Do you miss the days when learning about HPC was connecting a few gray boxes together and configuring a cluster? Do you wish you could transfer all the complexity inherent in production HPC systems into an accessible sandbox environment, designed to facilitate teaching and experimental development? Stop wishing and learn about Magic Castle!

Magic Castle is an open-source software that replicates the HPC infrastructure experience via community or commercial cloud resources. It is easy to deploy and can be created in minutes. Once their cluster is deployed, the user is provided with a complete HPC cluster software environment including the scheduler, a data-transfer node, JupyterHub, and thousands of software applications compiled by experts and accessible via CVMFS. Since its initial public release in 2018, Magic Castle has been used for thousands of workshops and tutorials world-wide.

In this talk, we will present Magic Castle architecture and general functioning. We will also cover educational use cases and how Magic Castle is used in the field to teach HPC.

Speakers Bio

Félix-Antoine Fortin graduated in computer engineering in 2008 and completed a master’s degree in electrical engineering with a focus on evolutionary algorithms for surveillance camera placement in 2010. Although he initially started a Ph.D., his passion for advanced research computing led him to join Calcul Québec in 2015. There, he assisted various labs unfamiliar with High-Performance Computing (HPC) in accelerating their research using Compute Canada’s national resources. In 2018, he initiated the open-source project Magic Castle, aimed at creating on-demand virtual clusters in the cloud to facilitate HPC education. By 2020, Félix-Antoine became the lead of the research software development team at Université Laval, and in 2024, he was appointed as the Director of Software Development at Calcul Québec.

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