The National Institute for Computational Sciences

New to HPC

Just what is HPC?

If you are interested in finding out what happens in the High Performance Computing (supercomputing) community, see About HPC. You might also want to take a look at our HPC Glossary.

Getting Started with HPC

If you just received your allocation, take a look at our website, which contains a lot of useful information about connecting to, and using our Computing Resources . To be able to compute successfully at NICS, it is essential to have a basic working knowledge of Linux/UNIX, as well as a basic understanding of modern high-performance computers. Depending on your project, it may be necessary to have a basic knowledge of other topics as well, such as parallel programming or debugging.

If you are already comfortable with high performance computing, and just need help with a particular piece of software, you may want to look at our Software page.

If you are not entirely comfortable with these topics yet, that's OK! There are a number of good, free online tutorials that can help you learn enough to get started. Note that the only way to learn these things is to put it into practice, so don't wait until you finish the tutorials start trying it out.


A brief introduction to Linux/Unix, see Teaching Unix. For more advanced topics, The Linux Documentation Project has many guides, such as An Introduction to Linux - A Hands-On Guide for Linux.


In many circumstances, such as running a parallel program on NICS Computing Resources, you will need to write scripts. Some information on writing scripts can be found in the UNIX tutorial, however, a more comprehensive tutorial can be found at Advanced Bash-Scripting Guide.

Make utility

For a good tutorial on how to write and use makefiles, see Make - A Tutorial