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CS402 - High Performance Computing

  • Module code: CS402
  • Module name: High Performance Computing
  • Department: Computer Science
  • Credit: 15

Content and teaching | Assessment | Availability

Module content and teaching

Principal aims

The module provides a solid foundation in High Performance Computing (HPC) and its role in science and engineering. After introducing the major scientific application areas and basic concepts of parallel computing, it outlines the hardware design of modern HPC platforms and the parallel programming models that they support. The principal methods of measuring and characterising application and hardware performance are then covered, with particular reference to complex scientific- and business-based HPC codes. The final topic is the Computational Grid, where the fundamental issues of administration, scheduling, code portability and data management are explored.

Principal learning outcomes

At the end of the module, a student will have an understanding of: The role of HPC in science and engineering; The most commonly used HPC platforms and parallel programming models; The means by which to measure, analyse and assess the performance of HPC applications and their supporting hardware; Mechanisms for evaluating the suitability of different HPC solutions to common problems found in Computational Science; The role of administration, scheduling, code portability and data management in an HPC environment, with particular reference to Grid Computing; The potential benefits and pitfalls of Grid Computing.

Timetabled teaching activities

27 one-hour lectures, 8 one-hour optional seminars and 2 one-hour lab sessions.

Departmental link

Other essential notes

Prerequisites: CS132, Computer Organisation and Architecture, CS243 Data Structures and Algorithms,

Module assessment

Assessment group Assessment name Percentage
15 CATS (Module code: CS402-15)
D1 (Assessed/examined work) Coursework for MSc students 30%
  2 hour exam for MSc students (Summer) 70%
D2 (Assessed/examined work) Coursework for MEng students 30%
  2 hour exam for MEng students (Summer) 70%

Module availability

This module is available on the following courses:



Optional Core


  • Undergraduate Discrete Mathematics (G4G3) - Year 4
  • Undergraduate Computer Science MEng (G503) - Year 4
  • MEng Computer Science (with intercalated year) (G504) - Year 5