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DRPS : Course Catalogue : School of Informatics : Informatics

Postgraduate Course: Performance Programming (INFR11167)

Course Outline
SchoolSchool of Informatics CollegeCollege of Science and Engineering
Credit level (Normal year taken)SCQF Level 11 (Postgraduate) AvailabilityAvailable to all students
SCQF Credits10 ECTS Credits5
SummaryApplication performance is one of the key requirements for HPC applications. However this is one of the more difficult requirements to satisfy:

- Issues effecting performance often vary between different hardware and software environments. This requires performance issues to be frequently re-visited as the hardware and software environment changes.
- Performance programming requires detailed knowledge of the underlying environment
- The design decisions necessary to achieve good performance are often in conflict with other desirable properties of the program.

After taking this course students should have a good practical understanding of the general issues and methodologies associated with designing building and refactoring codes to meet performance requirements. In addition they will have an overview of a number of subjects that are important in the understanding of performance on current systems.
Course description The course will cover the following topics:
- Overview of performance programming. Methodology, the optimisation cycle.
- Designing for performance. Encapsulation as an aid to performance tuning.
- Tools for performance programming. Profilers and code instrumentation.
- Compilers and compiler optimisation.
- Memory hierarchies, Memory structures and associated optimisations.
- Performance tuning for shared memory.
- Floating point performance. Pipelines, SIMD, vectorisation.
Entry Requirements (not applicable to Visiting Students)
Pre-requisites It is RECOMMENDED that students have passed HPC Architectures (INFR11175)
Prohibited Combinations Other requirements Relevant prerequisite information will be made available for reference and self-study, but will not be directly taught during this course.

Students are required to be familiar with C/C++ or Fortran for practical exercises and in-class examples.
Information for Visiting Students
Pre-requisitesIt is RECOMMENDED that students have passed HPC Architectures. Relevant prerequisite information will be made available for reference and self-study, but will not be directly taught during this course.

Students are required to be familiar with C/C++ or Fortran for practical exercises and in-class examples.
High Demand Course? Yes
Course Delivery Information
Academic year 2020/21, Available to all students (SV1) Quota:  80
Course Start Semester 2
Timetable Timetable
Learning and Teaching activities (Further Info) Total Hours: 100 ( Lecture Hours 16, Seminar/Tutorial Hours 7, Programme Level Learning and Teaching Hours 2, Directed Learning and Independent Learning Hours 75 )
Assessment (Further Info) Written Exam 0 %, Coursework 100 %, Practical Exam 0 %
Additional Information (Assessment) 100% Coursework split into two assignments (25%, 75%)
Feedback Provided via the practical classes and on assessed work in preparation for next hand-in.
No Exam Information
Learning Outcomes
On completion of this course, the student will be able to:
  1. Understand the appropriate methodology when attempting to improve code performance.
  2. Understand how performance is achieved via hardware, compilers and operating systems.
  3. Appreciate the limitations of systems and recognise when these will have a serious impact.
  4. Interpret the observed performance of code in terms of how its execution is realised on the system.
  5. Identify code regions appropriate for manual optimisation and propose, implement and evaluate optimisations on these regions.
Reading List
Provided via Learn
Additional Information
Graduate Attributes and Skills Programming
Solution Exploration and Evaluation
Communication of technical information via written report
Time management
Special Arrangements There are limited spaces on this course. Students not on the MSc in High Performance Computing or MSc High Performance Computing with Data Science should contact the course secretary to confirm availability and confirm that they have the required prerequisites before being enrolled on the course.

The course is available to PhD students for class-only study. PhD students requiring a form of assessment (e.g. SUPA/School of Physics and Astronomy CDT students) must contact the course secretary to confirm method of enrolment.
Additional Class Delivery Information Generally 2 lectures per week (Weeks 1-8), 1 tutorial per week (Weeks 2-8). Further optional tutorials to assist with coursework preparation may be provided during weeks 9-11.
KeywordsPerformance Programming,HPC,EPCC,Parallelism,Optimisation,Profilers,Compilers,SIMD,Vectors
Course organiserMr William Jackson
Course secretaryMiss Jemma Auns
Tel: (0131 6)51 3545
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