HPC Course Debuts Today

January 16, 2007

When CCT Professor Thomas Sterling takes to the podium today to teach his first class of the Spring 2007 semester, he'll be seen not only by the 27 LSU students in the class, but by many other students across the country and internationally as well.

Sterling's new class, "Introduction to High-Performance Computing" marks the first use of high-definition video broadcast via the Internet for distributed classroom instruction in the United States.

The course will be offered Tuesday and Thursdays from 3:30 to 5 p.m. in the Fred Frey Computing Services Center, Room 307, as well as in 338 Johnston Hall, by high-speed Internet connections, a first use of such technology for intra-campus instruction.

The course, which offers an interdisciplinary look at the emerging field of high-performance computing, will be offered for credit to students at Louisiana Tech University, the University of Arkansas and Masryk University in the Czech Republic. Sterling's lessons will be broadcast via HDTV to students at these sites.

Sterling developed this course to address the "graying of the high-performance computing industry," meaning there are not enough college graduates today who are trained in this field to fill jobs as others retire.

Also, many universities do not offer this course simply because they do not have the staff or resources to teach it, which deprives many students of the opportunity to learn about this field.

"With this course, we're creating a level playing field," Sterling said. "We are providing the opportunity for students with different professional goals to get the foundation they need."

The initial course offering this spring is only at LSU and the four schools listed above, but Sterling plans to export the course to more students next year. Sterling is also in the process of writing a textbook and developing a series of DVDs of his lectures so that it will be easier to transmit the material around the world for other universities to use.


Kristen Meyer
Center for Computational Technology (CCT)
Louisiana State University
(225) 578-3469