SciNet HPC Certificate Program

December 4, 2012 in for_researchers, for_users, Uncategorized

Note: an updated post can be found at

SciNet has been teaching courses on scientific technical computing and high performance computing for the Toronto-area research community for several years, and now offers recognition to attendees in the form of SciNet Certificates in Scientific Computing or High Performance Computing.  Courses offered by SciNet will, effective immediately, count towards these certificates.

Note that the SciNet Certificates are not University credentials, and will not appear on transcripts.  However, several SciNet courses are sometimes offered in cooperation with the Astronomy and Physics departments as graduate minicourses, which can count towards course credit; interested students in other departments are encouraged to contact SciNet and their graduate coordinator.

Requirements for these certificates are based on credit-hours of SciNet courses successfully completed.   For a “short course” (typically a day long or shorter, with no between-course homework), a lecture hour counts as one credit hour; for a “long course” with homework due between sessions, a lecture hour counts as 1.5 credit hours.

The certificate offerings are as follows; note that requirements are subject to change.  Students who have successfully taken SciNet courses before January 2013 may discuss with us having credits applied from previously-taken courses.


Certificate in Scientific Computing

36 credit-hours in scientific computing

This certificate indicates that the holder has successfully completed coursework in general scientific computing topics such as software development, version control, testing, visualization, and data management.

Example courses, with typical credit hours:

Certificate in High Performance Computing

36 credit-hours in HPC topics

This certificate indicates that the holder has successfully completed coursework in high performance computing topics such as programming models like OpenMP, MPI, CUDA or parallel development tools like debuggers

Example courses:

Certificate in Advanced High Performance Computing

36 course hours in advanced HPC topics

Example courses:

  • Parallel I/O – 8 credit hours
  • Adios – 1 credit hour


SciNet and the Discovery of the Higgs Boson

July 4, 2012 in blog, blog-general, frontpage, in_the_news

“SciNet is absolutely central to make anything out of what happens,” Teuscher [a University of Toronto ATLAS Researcher] said in this Toronto Star article.

SciNet, and the other Compute Canada centres, play a significant role in the work of the Large Hadron Collider and the physicists who use it.

Want to learn more about computation and the Higgs? This PC Advisor article has a very good overview of the massive data challenges that the worlds largest scientific experiment faces, and this blog post describes how the frontiers of computing and of science affect each other.

There are many excellent video descriptions of the physics such as What is the Higgs boson? by theoretical physicist John Ellis, and this explanation of the Higgs mechanism by CMS (one of the CERN experiments) spokesperson Joe Incandela. And this week’s CERN Bulletin has a number of articles describing both the physics and the experimental details that went into this discovery.

For a University of Toronto perspective, the University of Toronto news has a good writeup.

The resulting science papers are starting to come out, and some are freely available:
Landmark Papers on the Higgs Boson Published and Freely Available in Elsevier’s Physics Letters B, and Observation of a new particle in the search for the Standard Model Higgs boson with the ATLAS detector at the LHC.

SciNet’s Infiniband Upgrade on The HPC Rich Report

June 16, 2012 in blog, blog-general, in_the_news

Our CTO, Dr. Chris Loken, was on this week’s Rich Report HPC podcast with Gilad Shainer of Mellanox and the HPC Advisory Council describing our recent Infiniband upgrade and the improvements that means for our user community; the podcast was also featured on Inside HPC.

 Using Mellanox end-to-end InfiniBand solutions, SciNet has improved reliability and stability of their file systems, greatly improving the performance of parallel user jobs and user efficiency. SciNet is experiencing at least 15-20% increased performance out their upgraded cluster and expects to be high on the TOP500 list when the update is issued at ISC.