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High-Performance Computing for Neuroscience: Hands-on Introduction to Supercomputing Usage, Tools and Applications

Neuroscience research has become increasingly interdisciplinary in recent years. New imaging technologies deliver ultra-high-resolution images, while new simulator technology enables scientists to simulate larger and more detailed neural networks. It is no longer viable to analyse such data or run such simulations solely on a user’s office computer: clusters, supercomputers, and good data management strategies have become indispensable.

The Education Programme within the Human Brain Project (HBP) offers innovative learning packages, both online and with on-site events, for early-career researchers working in and across the fields of neuroscience, information and communications technology, and medicine. JSC’s SimLab Neuroscience is organizing an HBP Education Workshop that will give students a comprehensive introduction to HPC-based research and thus lay the foundation for them to advance the state of the art in their fields. This event will take place at JSC on 9–11 July.

The workshop will teach students the basics of supercomputing needed to use HPC systems for (neuroscience) research. This includes, on the one hand, introductory lectures with hands-on sessions about scientific computing in Python as well as an introduction to the usage of HPC systems and (big) data management. On the other hand, the students will receive hands-on training in tools and applications that can be used on both a supercomputer and the user’s local computer, for instance the simulators NEST and Arbor, as well as visualization tools that can handle large imaging or simulation data as generated on a supercomputer. The students will also learn how to obtain access to the Fenix Infrastructure for their research projects. The tools and applications presented are developed as part of the HBP’s High Performance Analytics and Computing (HPAC) Platform. The introductory lectures will enable the students to make efficient use of the other HBP Platforms, too, in particular the Neuroinformatics, Brain Simulation, and Neurorobotics Platforms, all of which use the HPAC Platform as a back-end.

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from JSC News No. 266, 14 June 2019