Typically, undergraduates and starting graduate students in the domain sciences have had limited experience with computational algorithms, coding and computer hardware. As proficiency in many research endeavors requires researchers to be fully capable of sophisticated numerical simulation and data analysis, students have typically learned the requisite skills from others in their research group, from inherited codes, and in some instances HPC summer schools. Making matters worse, not all institutions have local HPC resources that are available to the students to exploit the full value of learning by trial and error - and there are lots of errors to be made and learned from!
Recognizing the value in students learning and becoming proficient in the use of multi-processor parallel compute environments and the strong support among students for HPC resources for research projects and education, the UW's Student Technology Fee (STF) committee have generously supported large-scale proposals from graduate students to purchase compute nodes for Hyak for the last several years. It is now the case that a significant number of the Hyak compute nodes are own by graduate students through this STF funding. The students have self-organized, under the guidance of faculty, primarily Jim Pfaendtner (of the Hyak Governance Board), to form an HPC club. There is significant excitement regarding these developments and demonstrates a clear demand for local HPC resources among graduate students. The HPC club provides a very valuable resource beyond that of the wealth of expertise in HPC found in individual research groups across campus. More information about the HPC club and its activities can be found on its website.