SDSC Thread Graphic Issue 12, March 2007

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User Services Director:
Anke Kamrath

Subhashini Sivagnanam

Graphics Designer:
Diana Diehl

Application Designer:
Fariba Fana

Special Interest Area: Education - ACME workshop at SDSC

ACME Workshop at SDSC - April 2-4, 2007

— Diane Baxter

Few teaching environments have access to parallel platforms for teaching about parallel and distributed computing. To address this challenge, a team of dedicated educators who just happened to be true CI geeks (or perhaps the inverse) designed a package of tools and approaches that allow educators to create parallel platforms for education. They call their approach the ACME project (think roadrunner cartoons), with a combination of elements that include: Little Fe, a lightweight, inexpensive N node computational cluster in a box; a "Bootable Cluster CD" that allows educators to turn their computer labs into clusters; curriculum from the National Computational Science Education Reference Desk; and more enthusiasm than can be held in one human body.

Photo: picture showing utilities

SDSC is delighted to host an ACME Team Workshop this April, welcoming presenters Charlie Peck (Earlham College), Tom Murphy (Contra Costa College), and three of their students to teach San Diego educators how to use these tools to energize their Computer Science and Computational Science courses. Some of the workshop participants will be undergraduate students who will become the next generation of supercomputing researchers and instructors.

The three-day workshop will be filled with hands-on activities from morning through after-dinner lab sessions. Through the workshop experience, participants will gain a better sense of computational science.. They will learn to use parallel programming methods, specifically MPI (Message Passing Interface) and explore what kinds of questions are best addressed through parallelism and which are best left linear. They will explore scientific modeling and learn how to use mathematical models as a complement and alternative to laboratory investigation to explore scientific principles.

In addition to extensive hands-on experience, participants will leave with curricular materials that will include a bootable cluster CD (BCCD) that allows them to create a parallel cluster "on the fly" in the own computer labs. This is a valuable tool for students as well, allowing them to create (at home) the same computational setup as at school. Participants will become familiar with the CSERD repository of curriculum materials and a number of examples that will help teachers incorporate parallel computing into their existing courses.

The Acme Workshop at SDSC is sponsored in part by the Supercomputing Conference Education Program and the national TeraGrid Education Outreach, and Training program.

For further information about the upcoming Acme workshop at SDSC, please contact Ange Mason at Additional information about the Acme project and Little Fe are available at

Did you know ..?

SDSC is using quotas on GPFS on DataStar to control the use of disk space.
When you have exceeded the quota limits, using the default editor "vi" may destroy the file you are editing. Use the alternate editor "vim" in /usr/local/bin on DataStar. Vim provides a warning if the file cannot be saved due to disk quotas exceeded and will not modify the existing file. - Eva Hocks