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DRPS : Course Catalogue : School of Informatics : Informatics

Postgraduate Course: Extreme Computing (INFR11088)

Course Outline
SchoolSchool of Informatics CollegeCollege of Science and Engineering
Credit level (Normal year taken)SCQF Level 11 (Year 4 Undergraduate) AvailabilityAvailable to all students
SCQF Credits10 ECTS Credits5
SummaryExtreme Computing deals with the principles, systems and algorithms behind Web-scale problem solving. This touches upon the technologies and techniques used by companies such as Google, Facebook, Amazon, and Microsoft, using warehouse-scale computing and massive datasets. The course will be in three parts: the principles behind extreme computing (cloud computing, scaling, performance, etc.), supporting infrastructure (distributed file systems, replication, Web services etc.) and algorithms (Map/Reduce, case studies from Natural Language Processing, data processing, machine learning, data streaming).
Course description The course is to be conceptually split into three main areas, with each area not necessarily accounting for an equal portion of the syllabus. The three areas and the material covered in each area are as follows:

* Background: Motivation for new computing paradigms; introduction and differences between cloud and cluster computing; scaling and performance.

* Infrastructure: Distributed file systems; multi-tier systems, virtualisation; replication; fault tolerance; concurrent programming; web services.

* Data structures and algorithms: decentralised data structures; programming frameworks; design and implementation of Map/Reduce programs; dealing with massive amounts of data; case studies from natural language processing, data processing, machine and deep learning; and computation over infinite streams.

The course will also deal with the legal, social, ethical, and professional issues involved in remotely storing data in cloud deployments and will also deal with potential solutions to these problems
Entry Requirements (not applicable to Visiting Students)
Pre-requisites Co-requisites
Prohibited Combinations Other requirements This course is open to all Informatics students including those on joint degrees. For external students where this course is not listed in your DPT, please seek special permission from the course organiser (lecturer).

The coursework of this course will involve the use of UNIX-like systems and programming in Scala/Java.
Information for Visiting Students
Pre-requisitesVisiting students are required to have comparable background to that assumed by the course prerequisites listed in the Degree Regulations & Programmes of Study.
If in doubt, consult the course organiser (lecturer).
High Demand Course? Yes
Course Delivery Information
Academic year 2021/22, Available to all students (SV1) Quota:  None
Course Start Semester 1
Timetable Timetable
Learning and Teaching activities (Further Info) Total Hours: 100 ( Lecture Hours 20, Summative Assessment Hours 2, Programme Level Learning and Teaching Hours 2, Directed Learning and Independent Learning Hours 76 )
Assessment (Further Info) Written Exam 60 %, Coursework 40 %, Practical Exam 0 %
Additional Information (Assessment) As this is a practical course touching a large number of topics and from separate areas, there is a heavier weight on practical work. For proper evaluation, students must be presented with real problems, rather than "toy" ones which can be solved in a very limited time. There will be programming-based pieces of coursework, using Map/Reduce as the programming framework to perform a sequence of computations over large-scale datasets.

You should expect to spend approximately 25 hours on the coursework for this course.

If delivered in semester 1, this course will have an option for semester 1 only visiting undergraduate students, providing assessment prior to the end of the calendar year.
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Exam Information
Exam Diet Paper Name Hours & Minutes
Main Exam Diet S1 (December)2:00
Learning Outcomes
On completion of this course, the student will be able to:
  1. Demonstrate knowledge of the need for extreme computing by providing motivating examples of the scale of problems only computing at an extreme scale can solve (e.g., problems motivated by the use of large datasets and complex computation).
  2. Demonstrate knowledge of the problems associated with computing at an extreme scale, such as the need for multi-tier systems and programming models.
  3. Demonstrate knowledge of the infrastructure necessary for computing at an extreme scale through enumerating different file system designs, virtualisation techniques, replication, fault-tolerance paradigms, and alternative system designs.
  4. Demonstrate knowledge of data structures that can be used to efficiently process large datasets; and cluster-based algorithms for data processing, machine learning, and low latency processing through the use of distributed programming paradigms.
  5. Demonstrate knowledge of large-scale distributed deep learning systems for the purposes of solving machine learning problems of extreme scale.
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Additional Information
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Course organiserDr Luo Mai
Course secretaryMiss Lori Anderson
Tel: (0131 6)51 4164
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