Edinburgh University Offers 'Supercomputers For Dummies' Course

A ''supercomputers for dummies'' course helping to explain the world's most powerful number-crunching machines has been launched by the University of Edinburgh.

No programming experience or specialist knowledge is necessary to take part in the five-week online programme run by experts from the university's High Performance Computing Centre (EPCC).

Supercomputers, which typically fill a large room, use many processors in parallel to perform many billions of calculations per second.

The machines are used to study complex problems and engineering challenges, such as forecasting climate change, designing spacecraft or modelling disease spread.

Students will be given an introduction to what supercomputers are, how they are used and how their power can be applied in science.

David Henty, course coordinator at the EPCC, said: ''Every day, challenges such as forecasting the weather are met using supercomputing. We hope that lots of people, who are curious about how and why this is done, will enjoy learning about this technology and its applications.''

The programme, entitled Supercomputing, uses simple analogies, videos and quizzes to explain fundamental concepts.

Hosted by the FutureLearn platform, it is the latest in a series of open-access online courses from the university which have attracted more than two million participants.

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