Documenting High Performance Computing Concepts (HPC) for Naive Users


Project Title: Documenting High Performance Computing Concepts (HPC) for Naive Users



Deb Nigra, Senior Computational Science Consultant
Tom Maiden, User Services Manager.



Seeking a student with excellent technical communication skills to help produce introductory documentation on high performance computing (HPC) concepts.



PSC offers high performance computing resources to the national research community.  Our current system is Bridges, and we are in the process of starting up Bridges-2, which will be available starting this fall.
One important user demographic for both Bridges and Bridges-2 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 or Bridges-2 to expand their work.
Using an HPC system like Bridges, however,  is different in many ways than using a dedicated laptop. Users must connect to a login node; create 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 while dealing with Unix, a command line interface and command-line arguments, and configuring their environment, and more.
To enable these users to make the most of their allocation, 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.


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

You should be able to clearly communicate technical information to a lay audience, and will have a chance to apply principles and techniques learned in the classroom to a real-world need.  A background or training in design is helpful to make the resulting guide clear and visually engaging.  No background in HPC is necessary; training and time to learn will be provided. You will have a chance to learn and use Adobe Captivate and other software.


Desired Major

Technical Writing/Information Science/Multimedia Web Development 



The student in this position will receive an hourly wage.


To apply, please submit your resume and cover letter to Vivian Benton,

The deadline to apply is March 31, 2020.