Advanced Research Computing


Cluster Challenge Training Resources

If you're taking part in our Kickstart HPC cluster challenge, here are some suggested resources that you may need to work through, especially if you have no Unix/Linux command line experience.

Unix command line

UCL students are welcome to attend the free training offered by ISD's Digital Education team. The courses we would recommend for those without any command line experience are as follows:

This is an introductory course aimed at those wishing to familiarise themselves with the Unix operating system and to learn a few basic commands. You will need at least this level of familiarity in order to participate in the student cluster challenge. An alternative is the self-paced Moodle course "Introduction to the Unix Shell" (below).

This course introduces techniques in manipulating data files with UNIX using command line tools including grep, cut, sed and awk. Some basic elements of scripting may be included if time allows. We would recommend doing this course if you only have basic UNIX knowledge.

ARC offers the following self-paced UNIX course on Moodle. This will cover similar material to the courses above and we would recommend you work through this course in your own time if you have no command-line skills and are unable to attend the Quick Introduction to UNIX course above.

HPC skills

ARC offers the following courses to give you a basic knowledge of cluster computing:

Both the workshop and the self-paced course introduce the essential things you'll need to know in order to access UCL's research computing clusters, use the command line, transfer files, load pre-installed software packages using environment modules, and submit jobs on the cluster using a scheduler.

It is essential that you do either of these courses or the DiRAC Foundation HPC Skills Course (below) if you have never used an HPC cluster before, as you (or someone in your team) will need to know how to submit jobs to the clusters for the student cluster challenge. Some command line skills are taught during these courses, but you would still benefit from doing one of the introductory UNIX courses beforehand if you choose you attend the taught workshop.

DiRAC Foundation HPC Skills

As an alternative to the courses above, DiRAC offers a complete suite of training designed to give you an introduction to the principles of HPC and the tools needed to work on an HPC system. You need to register, but anyone can sign up:

Python programming

You will be optimising Python code for the cluster challenge - if you don't know any Python, we recommend the following Moodle training, which introduces fundamental programming concepts and is aimed at researchers who want to use Python to manipulate and analyse data: