While the industrial applications of high performance computing continue to multiply, the growth of advanced computational skills struggles to keep up with demand. To unlock the full potential of supercomputing, the UK needs a strong talent base, but how can companies and researchers obtain proper training in such a specialist area? Supercomputers are not impenetrable enigmas that are particularly strenuous to use, but they do require sophisticated, specialist skills to maximise return on investment. Without the real life technology to work with, practical training and development opportunities within large-scale software development are limited.
The Hartree Centre Summer School was established to provide comprehensive hands-on education for graduate software developers, early career researchers and established industrial computational scientists looking to expand their working knowledge of HPC. Since its inception, the programme has expanded from one week-long intensive course on HPC, to three elective weeks, each with a different specialism. In 2014, areas covered included HPC, visualisation and big data, with the future goal being to diversify further into specialist areas, such as computational fluid dynamics (CFD) and stress analysis. As well as use of the Hartree Centre supercomputer to carry out practical exercises, delegates also hear from some of the most globally acclaimed speakers and trainers in the world of HPC, such as Professor Jack Dongarra, founder of the TOP500 supercomputer ranking project, who has received numerous awards and accolades for his research.
For delegates, the Hartree Centre Summer School provides a rare opportunity to learn from worldrenowned computational scientists and use one of the most powerful supercomputers in the world dedicated to large-scale software development. While this practical and application-based training increases their employability, UK companies also benefit from a larger and better-trained community of HPC-savvy recruits to draw from. These highly skilled, specialist staff can then go on develop the application of HPC, visualisation and big data analytics as it relates to their industry, providing UK businesses with a greater competitive edge.