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The Australian National University

COMP4300/8300: Parallel Systems

Semester 1, 2020

This is an honours/masters level course that covers a variety of topics related to parallel computer systems. You will learn about parallel hardware and associated programming models, and how to divide up a computation so that it can be executed in parallel. We will explore the current state of high end computing both for computationally-intensive and data-intensive computing. The course will make use of the supercomputer located on campus at the National Computational Infrastructure facility.


[Assessment] [Schedule] [Lecture Notes] [Practicals] [Assignments] [References] [Marks and Lab Registration] [Discussion] [Past Exams] [People]

General Information

  • Instructions for taking the Gitlab-based online exams
  • Contingencies for those affected by travel restrictions: we will endeavour to accommodate affected students as is reasonably possible. The essential requirement for continuing with this course will be having reliable web page and secure shell (SSH) access to the anu.edu.au and nci.org.au domains, of sufficient quality to be able to edit files remotely, and, less critically, to be able to download Echo 360 lecture recordings. For this, you will need to have to have a suitable connecting computer (e.g. a laptop or desktop with ssh client software; recommend installing Cygwin for Windows computers). Essential web sites include this website, gitlab (assignment submission), wattle (lecture recordings and individual/group chat via Connect), NCI documentation+user accounts and StReAMS (marks). If there are problems accessing piazza, we can set up an alternate discussion forum on StReAMS. SSH connection via your normal Uni id can be tested on partch.anu.edu.au; if it gets as far as saying `Connection closed by remote host' that means your SSH request at least reached anu.edu.au. You could SSH test connectivity also to gadi.nci.org.au; if it gets as far as asking for a username, that means you should be able to get through once your NCI account is created. if there are difficulties, try again after setting up the ANU GlobalProtect VPN.
  • Timetabling of Lectures and Practicals (small group activities):
    • Lectures: Mon 11:00-13:00 and Tue 09:00-10:00, both in COP G030
    • Practicals: Tue 11:00-13:00, Wed 10:00-12:00, Thu 11:00-13:00 and Fri 12:00-14:00, all in CSIT N109
  • Prerequisites. The P&C prerequisites are not that essential (especially COMP2600); while this is an advanced course, intellectual maturity is more important than specifics. Students interested in taking this course and not meeting the formal prerequisites are encouraged to apply for a permission code, highlighting any background in computer organization, threading, networks and C programming. Applications will be considered on a case-by-case basis.
  • Practicals: registration opens in StReAMS on 10am Monday of week 1 of Semester 1. Marks for assessment items are also available through StReAMS.
  • The course's wattle page will be used for Echo360 recordings and selected solutions.
  • Please feel free to post course-related queries and issues to the course Discussion forum on Piazza. Invitations will be sent via email to enrolled students on Monday of week 1; alternately you can join through the link on the course wattle page. Please see the first post for the rules on using the forum. Class polls will also be conducted on this forum.
  • gitlab will be used for assignment submission (more generally, for the (private) sharing of student files with course staff).

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