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NMMU hosts the 6th CHPC Introduction to Programming with Linux and Python School

CHPC started its week-long Programming with Linux and Python School at the Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University (NMMU), North Campus on Monday 18 January 2016.

About 60 Masters and Doctoral students in fields of science and engineering from universities all over South Africa gathered at the ICT Department of the university for the basic scientific programming course intended to introduce postgraduate students to Linux (Ubuntu) and programming with Python. The students are in the fields of chemistry, physics, mathematics, applied mathematics, biology, bioinformatics, computer science and engineering and are without prior or sound knowledge of Linux and Python scripting. The CHPC, as a national computing facility, is tasked with ensuring that South African researchers are able to run their scientific applications or codes on its multi-million Rand systems and to do this, researchers need to be trained on the best and most efficient ways of utilising this national investment. Training users allows them full control of their work with less help-desk support as CHPC systems run on Linux and therefore Python and Linux scripting skills are essential for HPC. The CHPC help-desk is available to support users further.

The course is practical in nature, with students spending the full six days in a computer lab doing hands-on practical work. Since 2011, the CHPC has trained over 200 students some of which already completed their doctorates studies in field related to High Performance Computing (HPC) and joined industry and academia.

The first two days cover:

Overview of Ubuntu Linux desktop, Running commands and getting help, Browsing the file system, the bash shell, Standard I/O and pipe users, groups and permissions, vi and vim editor basics, Linux file system in-depth, advanced topics in users, groups and permissions, printing, introduction to string processing and string processing with regular expressions, finding and processing files, investigating and managing processes, introduction to PBS Pro and; job submission at the CHPC.

The next four days cover:

Python basics and Python objects, numbers, sequences, dictionaries, conditional and loops, files and input/output; and error and exceptions. The course runs from 18-23 January 2016 and is conducted by the CHPC annually.

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