ANU Supercomputer Facility - Annual Report 1998


Education and User Training


Computational Science and Engineering Education Program (and HPC Laboratory)

The Supercomputer Facility and the Department of Computer Science, FEIT, have been running a special program in education in computational science and engineering since 1996. This program was extended from its original two year time frame to run through to the end of 1998.

In first semester Dr Gardner and Dr Rendell delivered Computational Engineering ENGN4518. This course introduced elements of computational structural analysis and fluid dynamics. In 1998 it was taken by 23 students and two new case studies, concerned with the modelling of vibrations in a guitar and combustion in a flame, were added to the suite of case studies in the unit.

Also in first semester Dr Rendell and Dr C Johnson (DCS) gave a course in parallel systems to 7 computer science honours students. The course covered parallel computer design, programming models, performance issues and practical parallel processing. Dr Brian Corrie (ACSys) and Dr Henry Gardner also presented an honours course in Computer Graphics (8 students) which made use of the advanced graphics hardware available in the HPC laboratory.

In second semester Drs Gardner and Rendell delivered Computational Science and Engineering COMP3067 for the second time. This course gave an overview of the emerging discipline of computational science, covering topics such as the design and analysis of numerical algorithms, performance evaluation and testing, software design principles etc. Altogether 37 computer science and engineering students took this unit. The HPC laboratory was also used for an honours course in Mechanical Verification presented by Dr Jim Grundy of DCS.

In addition to the above courses the HPC laboratory has been used for a variety of other short courses and training:

* Computational Mathematics for Chemists (H Schranz, RSC- June 15-19)

* Fortran 90 and Vectorisation courses (D Singleton & J Jenkinson - Feb 26-27, Mar 3, July 1-2, July 3)

* Application Visualisation System (AVS) courses (S Ramsden - Jan 29-30, July 9/10)

* IMPACT workshop classes on Data Mining presented by ACSys to potential PhD students (July 13-14).

In addition about 9 Honours/Masters students from the Australian Centre for Arts and Technology and the Department of Engineering used the HPC laboratory for their projects. One of the engineering students was supervised by Dr Gardner who also supervised a third year computer science project on the design of a magnetohydrodynamic equilibrium code for the VPP.

Seminars and User Training and Information

An introduction to the services and facilities offered by ANUSF which was organized by Dr Kahn was attended by 35 postgraduate students on 27 March.

Dr Singleton and Ms Jenkinson gave a FORTRAN90 course on 1-2 July attended by 9 staff and students and, assisted by Dr Kahn, repeated a VPP Vectorization and Tuning course four times (26- 27 February, 3 March, 3 July) for 29 attendees from ANU and other universities.

Mr Ramsden gave hands-on courses on the AVS tools for scientific visualisation on 29-30 January and again on 9-10 July attended by 15 staff and students.

As with most ANUSF courses, notes can be found on our WWW page via

In conjunction with the Centre for Mathematical Applications, SMS, CSL, RSISE and ANZIAM, a one-day seminar on Computational and Applied Mathematics was held on 3 December.

The Supercomputer Facility is also a joint sponsor with ACSys, CMA, SMS and CSL, RSISE of the weekly Advanced Computation seminars series. Mr Whitehouse presented an overview of the virtual environment system entitled The Wedge Virtual Environment at this seminar on 24 August.

A new newsletter, 'SuperFAQS' was published in January, May and October. This newsletter was designed to keep users of the VPP300, Power Challenge and Massive Data Storage System informed of changes to software or management of the systems, give details of forthcoming courses and provide information on efficient use of the ANUSF computing resources. The newsletter was circulated in hard copy and a version was made available on the Web to give easy access to further relevant information.

ANUSF staff finished the conversion of the on-line manuals on the VPP, previously readable only with the proprietary Olias document reader, to a Web version on the ANUSF Web.

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