Summer School brings together learners interested in high-performance computing

Summer School brings together learners interested in high-performance computing

CSC Summer School in High-Performance Computing was organized for the 13th time in Nuuksio in summer 2023. The number of participants broke all records. The course attracted more than 30 students from all corners of Europe with different educational backgrounds and starting points. The course is not only suitable for beginners but also for slightly more experienced experts in high-performance computing. While traditionally the Summer School participants’ area of expertise has mainly been in the fields of natural sciences and engineering, this year the participants also included medical experts.

The fact that the course attracted experts from several fields enabled the participants to learn a lot not only from the teachers but also from each other. According to Kwabena Atobra, who took part in the course, this was one of the best things about the course: ”We had very passionate discussions amongst ourselves and also just having people from different and diverse backgrounds from different countries, different programs all interacting, was quite interesting.”

Versatile lectures and exercises led by skilled teachers

The Summer School familiarizes the participants with high-performance computing topics across a broad front, including GPU programming, parallel computing, various simulations and quantum computing. In addition to lectures, learning is supported by daily exercises, in which students can carry out their own research in addition to the course assignments. For Ethan Edwards, the exercises were the best part of the Summer School 2023: “My favorite part has definitely been the exercises. They have helped me the most, because when I do the exercises I can internalize how to get the most out of parallel computing.“

The lessons learned during the course are highly versatile. Students said in their feedback that their competence increased a great deal during the course. For example, students of the 2023 course highly praised the opportunity to learn about GPUs (graphics processors) and MPI technology (Message Passing Interface). Code optimization and improving code functionalities were also considered particularly important. Matias Uusikoski was clear about what the most important lessons were: ”I guess that for me, the most crucial one was basically how to really utilize the GPU's and how to understand better the supercomputer architectures.”

The teacher in charge of the course in 2023 was Cristian Vachile Achim. In addition to him, several experts from different areas of expertise at CSC participated in teaching and organizing the course. This made it possible to guarantee the most versatile and professional teaching possible. Matias Uusikoski describes the teachers as follows: “All the teachers are incredibly professional, so that really helps. You can ask them anything and you always get a really profound answer.”

Opportunity to develop your competence

The Summer School in High-Performance Computing lays a solid foundation for developing your competence while keeping future needs in mind. Marek Muchow took part in the course to develop his overall understanding of high-performance computing: “In my daily business I work with tools provided by CSC, like supercomputers. I applied to understand better where my code is going, how it runs and how to improve it, to give myself more chances of getting good results.”

Kwabena Atobra applied for a place in the course at his supervisor’s suggestion. They both believe that the lessons learned in the Summer School provide competence that will be required in the future. “This is a good place to start gaining some knowledge to help improve these codes that might do many interesting things for humanity in the near future”, Kwabena notes.

Not only computing but also bathing in the sauna

The ten-day Summer School was not all about studying, however, as the students had opportunities to get to know the charming surroundings of Nuuksio by doing various sporting activities, bathing in a lakeside sauna, hiking and having evening get-togethers. Ethan Edwards describes the atmosphere as calming: “I think my favorite thing has definitely been the sauna and the lakeside, but I just love the location which is so close to Helsinki, but it feels like I'm in a nice place where there's not a lot of distractions.”

Read more about the Summer School and register for the 2024 event!

Figures from Summer School participant feedback

Overall grade 8.9/10.

More than 90% of the participants would be very happy to recommend the course to others
 

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