Incorporating High Performance Computing in a Physics Curriculum

Igor Bray, Department of Physics and Astronomy, Curtin University, Perth, Western Australia

Tuesday September 15, 2020 at 10:00 AM ET. Join via Zoom:

Abstract: It is often said that Physics is primarily an experimental science. Indeed, Physics will always remain grounded by evidence obtained through experimentation. However, a modern-day's skill set of a physics graduate should include computation in order to maximise their range of career opportunities post graduation. Incorporating High Performance Computing (HPC) into a Physics curriculum is challenging for a range of reasons. These include determining what Physics courses should be removed in order to make space for the new courses. Then there is where to get the educational expertise in what can be rather technical parallel processing paradigms. Lastly, how to provide the foundational computational education allowing for efficient HPC educational delivery. We shall discuss these issues as we addressed them at Curtin University, where in partnership with staff and infrastructure of the Pawsey Supercomputer Centre, an Honours level HPC course has been put together by a team of computational physicists and chemists. The topics considered include Serial Optimisation, parallel programming with MPI and OpenMP, programming with GPUs using CUDA and OpenAcc, large-scale I/O, workflows and containers.

Igor Bray is a John Curtin Distinguished Professor of Physics, who has been Head of the Department of Physics and Astronomy at Curtin University since 2010. His research field is computational quantum collision theory with applications in Atomic and Molecular Physics. He has engaged in the usage of HPC for over three decades and has organised the Curtin's HPC course, as part of the Physics degree, for the first time in 2020. He has been a Fellow of the American Physical Society since 1999, and a Fellow of the Australian Academy of Science since 2017.