OLCF support specialists provide new user workshop on West Coast

The OLCF’s first West Coast workshop will take place in January 2013, giving those users the opportunity to learn more about the center’s newest system, Titan.

The Oak Ridge Leadership Computing Facility (OLCF) will hit the road in early 2013, taking its three-day Titan Users and Developers Workshop to NVIDIA headquarters in Santa Clara, California.

This will be the first time the OLCF has traveled outside the state to offer high-performance computing (HPC) training. The Santa Clara event is the first of two workshops being offered; the second will be held the following month in Knoxville, Tennessee.

“Every year we have an annual users’ event where we describe changes, especially for new users, and then changes for previous users,” said OLCF HPC user support specialist Fernanda Foertter.

In the past, she explained, user training had always been held near Oak Ridge National Laboratory, but given that most users are located elsewhere and travel is costly, many training opportunities were likely lost.

NVIDIA will be offering its facilities to users and will also provide training from the people who created Titan’s GPUs.

“Titan is brand new to us, too,” Foertter said, “so we’re getting the expertise directly from the experts themselves, and they’re the ones that know how to properly program for these accelerators [GPUs].”

Over the course of three days, users will get hands-on training and knowledge about Titan and other HPC systems. Users will start on day one learning how to properly log into the system, compile data, run apps, use scientific libraries, etc., and end on day three with lessons about the GPU architecture and programming applications.

Foertter is the coordinator of the event, which reflects her and her colleagues’ experience in user assistance. As a result, many of the classes will help users handle some of the everyday problems they encounter.

“Our role here [in user assistance] is first triage,” she said. “If we can have more users be more successful, then it leaves us more time to do bigger and better things for them, and it helps the users get to where they need to go faster.”

Training dates for the events are January 29–31 for the West Coast and February 19–21 for the East.

Participation is already at an all-time high, Foertter noted. Each event will be limited to 50 participants, and more people are signing up as the course dates draw nearer.

“We already have more interest than we’ve had in past years in actual attendance,” she said. “We’re constantly trying to find ways to get more users to attend our training so that they’re ready to go on day one.”

Registration for the workshops is available on the home page.

by Jeremy Rumsey