Project Title: Documenting HPC Concepts for Naive HPC Users



Deb Nigra, PSC
Robin Flaus, PSC
Tom Maiden, PSC



We propose to hire a student for the summer to produce introductory documentation on HPC concepts for users with no HPC experience.



One important user demographic for Bridges is novice HPC users. These users may come from a variety of academic disciplines, but their computing experience is limited to personal computers.  When their research problems become too large to handle on a laptop computer, they are candidates to use Bridges to expand their work.

However, using an HPC system like Bridges is different in many ways than using a dedicated laptop. Users must use ssh to connect to a front end node; prepare a job script using a non-WYSIWIG editor; submit the script to a queue; and wait for it to run to check the results, all the while dealing with Unix, and a command line, and command-line arguments, and configuring their environment and path, etc., etc.

To enable these users to make the most of their allocation on Bridges, we need to provide introductory training on HPC concepts (file systems, front end vs. compute nodes, job queues), Unix (command line syntax, file and directory permissions, file transfer), job submission (queues, priorities, SLURM), and how to get help.  This could take the form of self-paced online training or a written user guide, but it should be more visual than just a text document.

In addition, there may be an opportunity to create documentation for HuBMAP users, contributors and team members as PSC’s increased involvement in the Coordination Component takes shape.

Development/Learning Focus

This is a workforce development project.  The student will have a chance to apply principles and techniques learned in the classroom to a real-world need.  The student will have a chance to learn and use Adobe Captivate and other software.


Desired Results

The end result will be an introductory guide for novice HPC users covering topics such as Unix, connecting to Bridges, preparing and submitting jobs, queues, file transfer, and file and directory protections and access.  This guide may be a series of documents or self-paced online training.


Student background

The student should be able to clearly communicate technical information to a lay audience.  A background or training in design is helpful to make the resulting guide clear and visually engaging.


Desired Major

Technical Writing/Information Science/Multimedia Web Development



The student will receive a stipend or course credit for this work.


Please submit your resume and cover letter to Vivian Benton,

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