Summer Kickstart intro

What is this course?

Course contents

  • Day 1

    • General big-picture stuff about high-performance computing

    • Some practical skills

    • Mostly lectures and demos

    • Quite generic

  • Days 2 and 3

    • Using a computer cluster

    • Aalto’s cluster as an example, but applicable to others.

    • Much more hands-on

Who is attending?

  • Multiple universities, with different clusters

  • Our demos based on Aalto University

    • May need adapting to other sites

    • We will carefully explain about how things change in other sites.

Who are we?

  • Aalto Scientific Computing:

  • In collaborations with other universities (Finnish Computing Competence Infrastructure)

  • And one talk in collaboration with CSC


How the workshop works

When some people teach online, they can reach a few tens of people at once. We can reach hundreds.

We have an interesting strategy:

  • Livestream broadcast, like a TV production.

  • Anyone can watch.

  • There are pauses for exercises, you can work (alone or in groups).

  • If you want, be in Zoom and switch there for exercise sessions.

There are many parts of the workshop:

  • Talking and demos (livestream)

  • Type-along (livestream)

  • Exercises (Zoom or alone or your own groups)

  • Breaks, at least 10 minutes/hour

Chat and communication

  • Please don’t use the Zoom chat for questions: who can keep track?

    • Instructors won’t see

    • But you can for practical questions

  • Use HackMD for chat: questions in bullet points:

    View and edit modes at top
  • From here you can also find important links and reference.

  • You can switch between view and edit modes:

    View and edit modes at top
    • You have to switch to edit mode once to get live updates (then you can go back to view)

    • Please leave in view mode if you aren’t actively using it

  • Someone watches these and will answer or raise relevant questions by voice.

  • Don’t get overloaded! The point is you can read later.

  • Don’t include names or identifies in HackMD: it is public.

Icebreaker: Please answer the icebreaker question in HackMD

Where do you focus?

There is so much information! What should we look?

  • Screenshare and lecture

  • Your own type-along

  • HackMD (all important links should be pasted here)

    • Only look at the bottom.

    • Come back and read detailed answers later, not during.

  • Lesson webpage (as needed, direct links in HackMD)

Screen arrangement

Arranging your screen is surprisingly difficult!

  • We share a vertical window, so half of the screen is for us, and half is for demos.

  • Zoom “Dual monitor mode” (in the settings) gives you two windows which might be useful.

Screen layout with screenshare on one side and learner on other side

There is more than one way to take this course

  • We have more material than we can cover

    • We adjust to the audience

    • Some is advanced, we leave it for self-study

  • Not everyone needs to take the same path

    • Some may prefer to watch and self-study later

    • Some may be active in all the exercises

    • Some may leave it on in the background to see what they might learn.

  • Our material is constantly being improved

    • This is more like a guided overview of our actual tutorials than a standalone course.

    • You can help us improve.

Care for the community

Be respectful and helpful

It is actually hard to teach and mentor for tech like this. The course is much more than “only” instructors..

We leave you with four pieces of advice for now:

  • Everyone here is at different levels, and that’s expected. Everyone will be learning different things, and everyone will focus on different topics. Passive learning is OK.

  • Everyone is both a teacher and a learner. If not now, after the course when you are helping others.

  • Take time to check in. For example, ask “how’s it going? is everyone getting what they need?”, in breakout rooms.

  • When something isn’t going right, speak (or HackMD) up quickly. We want to help, even if the answer is “let’s discuss later”.

Final notes


  • The course is recorded and will be put on YouTube

  • But because of the livestream thing, you can’t be recorded yourself.

  • All outputs are CC-BY.


  • We don’t assign credits for attending this course - we can’t track attendance.

  • Use what you learn here in the online course Hands-on Scientific Computing ( to get credits.

Join us!

We are staff at Aalto but welcome others to join us in allowing everyone to do scientific computing.

More on this later.