Introduction to High Performance Computing (HPC Carpentry)

This workshop is an introduction to using high-performance computing systems effectively. We obviously can’t cover every case or give an exhaustive course on parallel programming in just two days of teaching time. Instead, this workshop is intended to give students a good introduction and overview of the tools available and how to use them effectively.

By the end of this workshop, students will know how to:

The material for the second part of this workshop is available at:

General Information

Who: The course is aimed at graduate students and other researchers. You don't need to have any previous knowledge of the tools that will be presented at the workshop.

Where: The Alan Turing Institute, The British Library, London. Get directions with OpenStreetMap or Google Maps.

When: 10:00-17:00, 6 December 2018, 10:00-16:00 7 December 2018. Add to your Google Calendar.

Requirements: Participants must bring a laptop with a Mac, Linux, or Windows operating system (not a tablet, Chromebook, etc.) that they have administrative privileges on. They should have a few specific software packages installed (listed below). They are also required to abide by Software Carpentry's Code of Conduct.

Accessibility: We are committed to making this workshop accessible to everybody. The workshop organizers have checked that:

Materials will be provided in advance of the workshop and large-print handouts are available if needed by notifying the organizers in advance. If we can help making learning easier for you (e.g. sign-language interpreters, lactation facilities) please get in touch (using contact details below) and we will attempt to provide them.

Contact: Please email for more information.


There are no prerequisites for this lesson

Getting Started

Getting Started

To get started, follow the directions on the “Setup” page to ensure you have an SSH client installed.


Please be sure to complete these surveys before and after the workshop.

Pre-workshop Survey

Post-workshop Survey

We will use this collaborative document for chatting, taking notes, and sharing URLs and bits of code.


Setup Download files required for the lesson
10:00 1. Why Use a Cluster? Why would I be interested in High Performance Computing (HPC)?
What can I expect to learn from this course?
10:30 2. Connecting to the remote HPC system How do I open a terminal?
How do I connect to a remote computer?
11:00 3. Coffee Break Break
11:30 4. Moving around and looking at things How do I navigate and look around the system?
11:50 5. Writing and reading files How do I create/move/delete files?
How do I edit files?
12:35 6. Lunch Break
13:35 7. Wildcards and pipes How can I run a command on multiple files at once?
Is there an easy way of saving a command’s output?
14:30 8. Scripts, variables, and loops How do I turn a set of commands into a program?
15:25 9. Coffee Break Break
15:55 Finish

The actual schedule may vary slightly depending on the topics and exercises chosen by the instructor.