Prerequisities and structure of the course

In order to succeed in this course, you need to know few things beforehand.

First, this course is aimed at people who already know how to program in Python. We will not be teaching Python programming as such. However, that said, you do not need to be an expert in Python programming either.

We expect you to be familiar (and comfortable) with:

  • Python syntax
  • Basic built-in datastructures (lists, tuples and dictionaries)
  • Control structures (if-else, while, for)
  • How to write and use functions and modules
  • File I/O

You can test if you have the prerequisite level of skills and knowledge by going through the quiz in the next step.

Second, previous knowledge of high-performance computing is not needed, we will discuss the relevant topics as we proceed.

Third, the course duration is four weeks. Each week we discuss a different topic related to Python performance. The main aspects of each topic is covered in articles and videos, but most importantly, these are followed by hands-on exercises on the topic. At least half of your time should be devoted to the exercises, since getting your hands dirty and doing it yourself is simply the best way to learn programming.

We provide simple instructions for setting up a virtual machine with the programming environment for the course in your own laptop/workstation. The virtual machine is based on Linux, and in order to carry out the exercises some familiarity with the Linux command line is useful.

FutureLearn platform and social learning

If you have not used the FutureLearn platform previously we suggest that you have a look on the guidelines.

Social learning is important aspect of the course. That means that in addition to educators you can learn also from your fellow learners. Therefore we encourage you to leave comments and have a conversation in the comments sections at the end of the steps. Please ask if there is something you do not understand, and answer to questions of others if you know the answer. You will find that both asking and answering questions helps to consolidate not only your but also other people’s knowledge, and it can be also great fun!

Please remember that because of the scale of the course and volume of comments, educators will not be able to respond to each and every one of them. If you notice a comment that you think should be addressed, then like it. Educators will try to reply to the most liked comments.

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This article is from the free online course:

Python in High Performance Computing

Partnership for Advanced Computing in Europe (PRACE)