Feb 2022 / Getting started with scientific computing

This course is a general introduction to computational researchers. The point is to serve as a guide to your career: a map to the types of resources that are available and skills you may need in your career, so that you can be prepared when you need more in the future. There will also be topics related to using these resources. Aalto University is used in some examples, but all parts are designed to be useful no matter where you are now.

This course is especially suitable to new researchers or students trying to understand computational/data analysis options available to them. It won’t go into anything too deep, but will provide you with a good background for your next steps: you will know what resources are available and know the next steps to use them. The sibling course, to use computer clusters, is Feb 2022 / Introduction to HPC (Winter Kickstart), and happens together with this course.

Attending individual sessions is fine.

Part of Scientific Computing in Practice lecture series at Aalto University.

Other universities

This course is hosted at Aalto University but put on in cooperation with many other universities. Anyone (even not at a partner site) could get something out of this course. For the most part, this day’s events are not specific to any particular site and you can easily adapt the lessons to wherever you may be now. If you want to help on behalf of your site, contact us via the CodeRefinery chat (#workshops stream).


All times EET, that is Europe/Helsinki time!

  • Wed, 2 February 2022

    • 11:50–12:00: Connecting time, introductions, icebreakers

    • 12:00–12:25: Me and HPC or: How I learned to stop worrying and love the computing.

      Are you at the start of your scientific computing journey?

      Would you like to hear tips and tricks from someone who knows what they are doing, but still remembers what it was like to be a newbie?

      In this talk a we will get a personal views of high-performance computing from a final year PhD student and one of our staff scientists.

    • 12:25–12:50: Scientific Computing workflows at Aalto

      The types of services available at Aalto and many other universities, a summary of what you might actually use in the next six months.

    • 13:00–13:25: When and how to ask for help (Radovan Bast, UiT, Norway)

      It’s dangerous to go alone, take us! Don’t waste time struggling, there are plenty of people here for you.

    • 13:25–13:50: A tour of scientific computing skills and tools

      There are so many tools available for computing. We’ll describe some of most important things and give you links to your next steps.

    • 14:00–14:50: Q&A/panel discussion (on any topic)

    • 15:00–15:45: Connecting to a HPC cluster as part of Feb 2022 / Introduction to HPC (Winter Kickstart)

      • Required if you are attending the Triton/HPC tutorials the following days.

      • 15:00–15:20?: Livestream introduction to connecting

      • 15:??–??: Individual help time in Zoom (links sent to registered participants)

      • Material: Connecting to Triton

Varying topics

Each year, this course is offered with varying topics. We recommend you review these topics we have covered in previous courses (which we won’t cover again during this course). You can ask questions on these during these sessions:

Practical information

This is an online course streamed via Twitch (the CodeRefinery channel) so that anyone may follow along without registration. Registering will get you information from the organizers and a Zoom link for further Q&A and discussion. There will also be an anonymous HackMD link (collaborative edited notes) which is used for asking questions during the lectures.

Instructors and organizers:

  • Richard Darst

  • Enrico Glerean

  • Simo Tuomisto

  • … and you?


Please register at this link Registration is not required to just watch online, lurkers welcome. Registration will get you (“*” indicates priority for Finnish academic members):

  • Email reminders and summaries each day.

  • The HackMD link, so that you can ask questions (this is very important for interactivity!)(*)

  • Zoom links for the per-university breakout rooms (*)

Credits: Certificates are not provided for this course.

Additional course info at: scip@aalto.fi

Preparation / prerequisites

Software installation:

  • Zoom (if attending breakout rooms)

Background knowledge: Just come with what you know, there is something for everyone. It might be good to look at the “varying topics” material, especially the shell crash course one.

Mental preparation: Online workshops can be a productive format, but it takes some effort to get ready. Browse these resources:

Community standards

We hope to make a good learning environment for everyone, and expect everyone to do their part for this. If there is anything we can do to support that, let us know.

If there is anything wrong, tell us right away - if you need to contact us privately, you can message the host on Zoom or contact us outside the course. This could be as simple as “speak louder / text on screen is unreadable / go slower” or as complex as “someone is distracting our group by discussing too advanced things”.


See the schedule