3-7 June 2019
Europe/Berlin timezone

High-performance Computing (HPC) clusters are used for large scale data processing and data analysis, fine grained parallel calculations and simulations of ever increasing fidelity in industry and academia.

This course material is meant to introduce learners to the core principles behind using a HPC cluster, how to connect to it, how to dispatch jobs and retrieve their results, and how to program applications that can harness the full power of this parallel machinery. The course material also entails an opt-in introduction to using the *NIX command line.

Please note that this lesson uses Python 3 to demonstrate the capapbilities of a cluster based workflow without the intent of claiming python to be the universal language for HPC. Prior knowledge of python is beneficial but not required. Any basic background in programming will do.

Seminar Room Ground Floor


This lesson guides you through the basics of using a computer cluster (also called a batch farm or supercomputer). If you have already written small programs with a programming language of your choice and know the difference between a “variable” and a “function”, you are ready for this lesson from the programming side. You should also have experience in using the Unix terminal or command line to navigate a file system, copy files, remove then and inspect them. 

If you feel that you would like to have an introduction to the command line to automate your daily scientific tasks and become more productive, opt-in to day 1 during registration which covers this.

If you're already comfortable with using systems like LSF, Slurm or PBS/Pro and have already run applications on a super computer or even wrote parallel applications to run on a cluster, you probably won't learn much from this material. But you are welcome to help the others as a technical assistant or contribute to this course material.

Required Software

Please bring your laptop to the course. We will be working with the terminal extensively. Please follow the setup instructions from here. This document provides instructions for Linux, macOS and Windows.

For the cluster introduction, your laptop should have ssh or any clients thereof installed and ready for use in order to connect to the cluster.

On linux, ssh is typically preinstalled, however be sure to have a terminal program (like xterm, terminal, konsole available as well).

On macOS, ssh is typically preinstalled, however be sure to have a terminal program (like iTerm) available as well.

On windows, it depends on your version of windows how and if you have to install a terminal and/or a ssh client. Typically, putty is a good choice for both. Note on Windows 10, there is a Linux subsystem that you can use.


The course will cost 100 Euros for MPI-CBG staff per day in accordance with MPI-CBG course recharge policy (€ 200,- for externals and collaborators). Please verify that this is O.K. with your group or service leader before registering ;-) 

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