Pittsburgh Supercomputing Center 

Advancing the state-of-the-art in high-performance computing,
communications and data analytics.

PSC's Resources for Educators extends to students and parents in the following programs:

CompEx - Computation Exploration is a high performance computing teaching module designed to be incorporated into existing curricula in high school computer science classrooms. This program teaches high school students the basics of parallel programming and guides them through the development of their own parallel programs.

CI JumpStart - Introduces computational science and high performance computing to high school and undergraduate students. Instructional materials and exercises are available on the CI JumpStart website.  Workshops can be held at the school, or at PSC.

Science Fairs – PSC and 3ROX encourage middle and high school students competing in their local of regional science fairs to consider projects that use computational thinking and tools. Resources and more information are available on the PSC science fair resource page.

Job Shadows – PSC and 3ROX provides opportunities for high school student to job shadow members of the PSC and 3ROX staff.  Given the broad expertise of the PSC staff, job shadows are available in the areas of Information Technology, Computational Science as well as Administrative and Financial Services. 

Computation Exploration

With our increasing reliance on technology and computers it is critical that students begin their computer education early and that it involve more than just while loops and if statements. The Pittsburgh Supercomputing Center (PSC) developed the Computation Exploration program to address these issues and expose area high school students to today's high performance computing (HPC).

Computation Exploration (CompEx) is a high performance computing teaching module designed to be incorporated into existing curricula in high school computer science classrooms. This program teaches high school students the basics of parallel programming and guides them through the development of their own parallel programs. Once the parallel programs are written, the students are introduced to various HPC platforms, and get to run their programs on those platforms. In addition to traditional HPC architectures, students are exposed to cloud computing and run their own MPI programs on Amazon's Elastic Compute Cloud. Finally, students learn about large scale data analysis using Hadoop.

CompEx is a nine week course offered to Pittsburgh area high schools. Approximately twice a month, PSC staff travel to the high school to lecture and teach key concepts to the students. Between those visits, the students work on programming projects related to the course. Most students who participate in the program have minimal programming experience. Typically, they are only halfway through an introductory computer programming class before CompEx begins. Every student who participated said that their programming skills improved and that they would recommend CompEx to a friend.

Student Feedback

"It showed me how real programming is done."

"...getting my code to run in parallel was a joy, especially since I got to be the first."

"I learned to create code that ran on multiple processors, something we normally wouldn't do in class."

"I enjoyed working with high level computers and things we normally would not have had access to without a fat wallet."