Training

We provide group and individual training from novice to advanced, with core skills and customized courses.

ACENET offers accessible and flexible group and individual training (beginner-advanced), with a focus on customized learning events and regular core skill development opportunities.

Explore our regular course offerings in the Training Catalogue, and check Upcoming Events for our current schedule.

Our workshops and seminars can also be provided by arrangement. To access one of our courses outside our Upcoming Events schedule, or to arrange customized training,  SUBMIT A TRAINING REQUEST

Below is the list of standard workshops and seminars that our team regularly delivers, ranging from introductory sessions to advanced topics.

Courses are scheduled at various times of the year and at various institutions, based on demand. Four of the ACENET Basics Series (Introduction to HPC With ACENET & Compute Canada, Introduction to LinuxIntroduction to Shell Scripting, and Job Scheduling with Slurm), are offered, at minimum, every spring during May-June. Participants have the option of attending in person at either Dalhousie University, Memorial University, St. FX University, University of New Brunswick or University of PEI.

There are also video tutorials available for a number of workshops.

Orientation

What Can Digital Research Tools Do for Me? (oriented to natural/applied sciences)

Beginner, 1 hour
Prerequisites: None

Digital research tools can help today’s researchers meet ambitious goals and overcome significant challenges, such as

    • Mining and analyzing a large data set
    • Modelling that is too complex for desktop computing
    • Identifying patterns or trends in spatial data or visual imagery
    • Developing a web-based research/analysis tool

 

In this session, equip yourself with basic terms and concepts related to high performance (HPC), supercomputing and big data analytics, and an understanding of the computing power and expert support available to you through Compute Canada and ACENET. Learn how advanced computing is already serving researchers across the sciences, and how you can get started.

What Can Digital Research Tools Do for Me? (oriented to humanities and social sciences)

Beginner, 1 hour
Prerequisites: None

Digital research tools can help today’s researchers meet ambitious goals and overcome significant challenges, such as

    • Mining and analyzing a large data set
    • Modelling that is too complex for desktop computing
    • Identifying patterns or trends in spatial data or visual imagery
    • Developing a web-based research/analysis tool

 

In this session, equip yourself with basic terms and concepts related to digital research tools and and big data analytics, and an understanding of the tools and expert support available to you through Compute Canada and ACENET. Learn how digital tools are already serving researchers across the sciences and humanities, and how you can get started.

ACENET Basic Series

6 hours, total

The essentials of advanced computing at ACENET

New Compute Canada/ACENET users are strongly encouraged to complete all four sessions in the series.

Experienced users seeking greater efficiency from the computing clusters are encouraged to complete Introduction to Shell Scripting and Job Scheduling with Slurm

Frequency and Availability: Watch our training schedule for regular opportunities to take the Basic Series or submit a training request.

Immediate Access: Each Basic Series session has a corresponding YouTube tutorial. See course descriptions for links.

Introduction to High Performance Computing (HPC) With ACENET & Compute Canada

Beginner, 1.5 hours
Prerequisites: None

Researchers across many disciplines use HPC to tackle analyses that would be either inefficient or impossible on a desktop.

This session offers:

    • a basic description of the infrastructure and support accessible through Compute Canada and ACENET, with entry-level advice about how to begin.
    • an overview of the software packages available through Compute Canada and ACENET for applications, data analysis, software development and compiling code, as well as the process of requesting specific software relevant to your work.
    • insight into the potential of parallel computing to accelerate your analysis.

 

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YouTube Tutorial: (Video)

Introduction to Linux

Beginner, 1.5 hours
Prerequisites: None
Requirements: a laptop, and sign up for a Compute Canada account, unless you already have one.

This session involves practical exercises.

To access and use the ACENET and Compute Canada HPC clusters from your desktop, you will use a terminal interface called “Linux”. You will use Linux to direct the uploading, processing, and retrieval of your data.  In this session, learn how to get started with Linux and how to perform some basic tasks:

    • create and navigate directories for your data
    • load files
    • manage your storage
    • run programs on the computing clusters
    • set file permissions 

 

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YouTube Tutorial: (Video)

Introduction to Shell Scripting

Beginner or Experienced, 1.5 hours
Prerequisite: ACENET Basic Series Introduction to Linux, or previous experience with Linux
Requirements: a laptop, and sign up for a Compute Canada/ACENET account in advance, unless you already have one.

This session involves practical exercises.

This session is designed for both new and experienced shell script users. You’ll learn how to name, locate and set permissions for executable files, take input and produce output. Learn about job scripts, shell variables, and looping commands. Refine your use of shell script to exercise the power of the command line.  Save time, automate file management tasks, and use Linux more effectively.


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YouTube Tutorial: (Video
Alternate YouTube Tutorial: (Video 2)

Job Scheduling with Slurm

Beginner, 1.5 hours
Prerequisites: Completion of Basic Series: Introduction to Linux and Introduction to Shell Scripting or prior experience with both.
Requirements: a laptop, and sign up for a Compute Canada account, unless you already have one.

This session involves practical exercises.

Compute Canada’s national systems use the job scheduler called “Slurm”. This session is designed for users who have had no experience with using Slurm, are transitioning to Slurm, or are seeking to improve efficiency with Slurm. You will learn how Slurm works and how it allocates jobs, enabling you to

    • minimize wait time by framing reasonable requests
    • optimize use of the resources to achieve efficiency
    • increase throughput
    • run more jobs simultaneously
    • troubleshoot and address crashes

 

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YouTube Tutorial: (Video)

Introductory Programming Workshops

Software Carpentry: Unix Shell, Version Control and Python

Beginner, 2 days
Prerequisites: None
Requirements: a laptop with a Mac, Linux or Windows operating system (not a tablet, Chromebook, etc), on which you have administrative privileges, as you will need to pre-load specific software packages.

This workshop involves practical exercises.

Software Carpentry teaches basic computational research skills. Using software-carpentry.org materials this workshop introduces you to the fundamentals of the Unix Shell, Version Control with Git and Python.

This hands-on workshop covers the fundamentals of Python, including data types, conditional statements, loops and functions, as well as program design, version control, data management, and task automation. Participants will be encouraged to help one another and to apply what they have learned to their own research problems. The goal is to teach the practical knowledge needed to start programming, debugging and using Python in everyday tasks.

Of interest to: active computational researchers and their teams; anyone considering a research project that requires computational research; and students eager to enhance their career choices by expanding their skill set.

Software Carpentry: Unix Shell, Version Control and R

Beginner, 2 days
Prerequisites: None
Requirements: a laptop with a Mac, Linux or Windows operating system (not a tablet, Chromebook, etc), on which you have administrative privileges, as you will need to pre-load specific software packages.

This workshop involves practical exercises.

Software Carpentry teaches basic computational research skills. Using software-carpentry.org materials this workshop introduces you to the fundamentals of the Unix Shell, Version Control with Git and R.

This hands-on workshop covers the fundamentals of R, including data types, conditional statements, loops and functions, as well as program design, version control, data management, and task automation. Participants will be encouraged to help one another and to apply what they have learned to their own research problems. The goal is to teach the practical knowledge needed to start programming, debugging and using R in everyday tasks.

Of interest to: active computational researchers and their teams; anyone considering a research project that requires computational research; and students eager to enhance their career choices by expanding their skill set.

Data Carpentry

Data Carpentry trains researchers in the core data skills for efficient, shareable, and reproducible research practices covering the full lifecycle of data-driven research. Through a two-day hands-on approach, the focus is on the introductory computational skills needed for data management and analysis. The workshops are domain-specific, and include life and physical sciences, and humanities and social sciences. Sessions build on the existing knowledge of participants to enable them to quickly apply the skills learned to their own research. This workshop is of interest to: current researchers and their teams using large data sets; anyone considering a research project that involves large data sets; or students who want to gain these skills to enhance their career choices. A laptop is required. (2 days)

Programming Basics and Applications for Humanities and Social Sciences

Beginner, 2 days
Prerequisites: None
Requirements: A laptop and sign up for a Compute Canada account unless you already have one

This session involves practical exercises

This is an introductory workshop for researchers and students who are interested in programming basics for humanities and social sciences applications. No prior experience in programming is necessary. Topics covered include an introduction to Unix Shell and Linux, websites and versioning with Git, regular expressions, Python for humanities and web scraping with Python. Applications include web scraping, survey field restriction, websites and text analysis. The workshop will use software-carpentry.org materials.

Cloud

Introduction to Cloud Computing

Beginner, 1 hour
Prerequisites: None

This session provides an introduction to the Compute Canada cloud which is used to create and manage virtual machines. Virtual machines allow great flexibility but require knowledge and effort to configure them for your specific needs. Virtual machines can be used for diverse work flows, from processing particle physics data to running humanities and social sciences websites. Learn how to create a virtual machine and how to start using it.

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Cloud Powering Up Humanities & Social Sciences

Cloud computing has become very popular. Part of the reason for this popularity is that it provides great flexibility allowing complete control of the computing environment. In addition the environment can be copied, backed up, created and recreated in an automated way. In these lessons we will start you on the path towards making use of the great flexibility and power of cloud computing. This two day workshop is designed to provide an introduction to using cloud computing, as well as to teach the basics in getting started. Participants will learn how to create a virtual machine, apply updates, create a web server, a WordPress site, a self-signed SSL Certificate, and will receive a demonstration of how to use Heat to create a mediawiki site. No experience necessary, but participants are strongly encouraged to open a Compute Canada account prior to the course and to bring a laptop. (2 days)

Cloud Applications in Humanities and Social Sciences (HSS)

Beginner, 1.5 hours
Prerequisites: None

In this session, we will give an overview of what a cloud is generally, as well as the Compute Canada cloud specifically. To demonstrate what may be accomplished with a cloud, different cloud usage cases for the humanities and social sciences will be presented followed by a discussion of two common methods for website generation, a common use for the cloud. We will finish with a brief discussion of server security and the implications it has for the two methods presented for creating websites.

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Cloud From A to Z

Beginner, 2 hours
Prerequisites: None

This is a beginner level series. Cloud computing provides great flexibility, allowing complete control of the computing environment. In addition, the environment can be copied, backed up, created and recreated in an automated way. In these lessons, we will start you on the path towards making use of the great flexibility and power of cloud computing. We will be using the popular static website generator Jekyll. This is an in-depth workshop for those with no prior cloud experience, at the end of which you will have a virtual machine and a Jekyll website.

Securing Your Compute Canada Virtual Machine

Beginner to Intermediate, 1 hour
Prerequisites: None

This is a beginner to intermediate level session. Learn the best practices at Compute Canada for minimizing your risk for cyber attacks. Topics will include SSH security, firewalls, using logs and creating backups; all applied to running and maintaining cloud projects at Compute Canada.

Data Management

Introduction to Data Management Planning

Beginner, 1 hour
Prerequisites: None

This presentation will give an introduction to the Portage Network, an initiative of the Canadian Association of Research Libraries (CARL), with the goal of building research data management (RDM) capacity in Canada through a network of experts in a growing community of practice. The session will focus on the importance of data management and progress made by the Portage Network in finding solutions to practical challenges researchers and institutions face in managing their research data and meeting journal and funding-agency requirements. Specifically, we will cover the tools and services available to Atlantic Canadian researchers that can help you better manage your data, enhance the discoverability of your research, and ensure that your valuable research data are preserved for future reuse.

Support Your Research With Data Management Planning

Beginner, 1.5 hours
Prerequisites: None

This is an applied session.

This workshop will cover the importance and benefits of Data Management Plans (DMPs), how they can support your research, what makes a ‘good’ DMP, as well as an in-depth look at their content. A hands-on demonstration of the Portage Data Management Planning (DMP) Assistant and important platform updates will be offered. Participants are welcome to create an account prior to the session should they wish to learn to navigate and use this gold standard data management planning tool. Additionally, resources to help you develop your own DMP – including guidance documents and Exemplar DMPs – will be provided, and approximately 30 minutes at the end will be dedicated to discussion and answering questions.

Data Wrangling and Versioning with OpenRefine and GitHub

In this workshop, participants will use a hands-on approach to build experience and expertise in two important aspects of data curation: data wrangling and versioning. Participants will use GitHub as a means of acquiring, documenting, and versioning research data and code, while learning how to use Open Refine to explore, clean, and transform data into interoperable and reusable forms. (3 hours)

Data Organization & Analysis for Humanities and Social Sciences

Beginner, 2 days
Prerequisites: None
Requirements: laptop with a Mac, Linux or Windows operating system (not a tablet, Chromebook, etc) on which you have administrative privileges, as you will need to pre-load specific software packages.

This workshop involves practical exercises.

This is an introductory workshop for researchers and students to teach core data skills for efficient, shareable, and reproducible research practices covering the early stages of the lifecycle of data-driven research. Through a two-day hands-on approach, the focus is on the introductory computational skills needed for data organization and analysis. This workshop is domain-specific, focusing on examples and challenges from Humanities and Social Sciences research fields. The workshop will use data-carpentry.org materials.

ACENET Focus Seminars

Designed to accommodate specialized programming interests, and to explore advanced programming concepts. Completion of the ACENET Basic Series is advised before beginning the ACENET Focus Seminars.

Cybersecurity

Securing Your Digital Life

Beginner, 1.5 hours
Prerequisites: None

Join the ACENET cybersecurity team for a session that will tackle the basics of information security. Topics will include a discussion of the social and psychological aspects of avoiding common attacks. Safe browsing, file sharing, video conferencing, and tools for online collaboration will all be covered in a discussion of how to stay safe while living and working on the internet. Email security, passwords and password management, encryption basics, and best practices for securing the home/office environment will all be addressed. Bring your own questions and concerns.

Securing Your Compute Canada Virtual Machine

Beginner to Intermediate, 1 hour
Prerequisites: None

This is a beginner to intermediate level session. Learn the best practices at Compute Canada for minimizing your risk for cyber attacks. Topics will include SSH security, firewalls, using logs and creating backups; all applied to running and maintaining cloud projects at Compute Canada.

Github

Git, Github or Gitlab: An Overview of Version Control Tools

Beginner, 1 hour
Prerequisites: None

A key concept in software engineering for decades, version control is integral to effective management and manipulation of evolving work in a digital environment. You may have heard of Git, but there are many competing version control tools available, and they all exist in a large “ecosystem” of related web services. Learn how to assess your options and choose a combination of version control tools and services for your work.

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Big Data

Big Data & Data Analytics

Beginner, 1 hour
Prerequisites: None

Designed to serve anyone considering a project that involves complex analysis, and/or a large data set, of special interest to researchers working in the humanities and natural sciences, eager to explore new possibilities.

This short introduction to data management and analysis tools will help you consider your data, and understand which aspects of the Big Data Ecosystem pertain to your research. Data analysis has been around for a long time – but today’s researchers manipulate an unprecedented variety and volume of data from myriad sources, and use advanced computing for high velocity processing.

It’s no surprise that diverse data sources (e.g., GPS coordinates, videos from mobile devices, and massive on-line archives of digitized manuscripts etc.) require strategic approaches to management and analysis. This seminar will help you choose an approach that fits your data.

Parallel Programming

Introduction to Parallel Programming

Beginner, 1 hour
Prerequisites: Prior programming experience or completion of the ACENET Basics Series

Parallel computing is the business of breaking a large problem into tens, hundreds, or even thousands of smaller problems which can then be solved at the same time, possibly on more than one computer.  It can reduce processing time to a fraction of what it would have been, or enable you to tackle larger, more complex problems, or both. It’s widely used in big data mining, AI, time-critical simulations, and advanced graphics such as augmented or virtual reality. It’s used in fields as diverse as genetics, biotech, geographic information systems, computational fluid dynamics, medical imaging, drug discovery, and agriculture.

This session introduces the terminology and concepts of parallel programming. Learn about parallel computer architectures, approaches to parallel program design and performance measurement.

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Lightning Introduction to MPI Programming

This is a one-hour crash course in the primary tool for writing message-passing parallel programs. It covers the basic concepts of MPI, including sending and receiving messages, coordination, and data synchronization. This workshop assumes that you have some programming experience with one or more languages and have take the ACENET Basics sessions. (1 hour) (Slides)

Introduction to Shared Memory (OpenMP) Programming

Participants will learn about the primary tool for writing shared-memory parallel programs. The session covers OpenMP and provides a short introduction to POSIX threads. You will learn about the most common techniques, such as parallel for loops, barriers and critical sections. This workshop assumes that you have programming experience with one or more languages and have taken the ACENET Basics sessions. (1 hour) (Slides)

Parallel Computing School

Offered annually in spring

The school is designed for participants familiar with the Linux command line and who have some level of programming experience. Completion of the ACENET Basics Series, or equivalent experience, is strongly recommended. The mornings will consist of lectures, with the afternoons following a lab format, where participants will be given exercises, or can bring specific problems to instructors related to their research. Topics include general parallel computing, OpenMP, GPGPU, and Message Passing Interface (MPI). (3.5 days)

Tools & Techniques

Make and Makefiles

Intermediate, 1 hour
Prerequisites: ACENET Basics; programming experience

Many programs come as source code and a mysterious Makefile, with instructions like “make all; make install”. Here’s how it works, what can go wrong, how to fix it, and maybe even how to write your own. Participants must have some programming experience and have taken the ACENET Basics sessions.

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Code Optimization – Tips & Tricks

Advanced, 1 hour

This workshop assumes that you have some experience with one or more programming languages. It covers some basic optimization techniques that are general in nature, as well as several tips for specific languages.

Molecular Dynamics Workshop

Intermediate, 1 day

This workshop introduces researchers to the theory, key ideas, and techniques of Molecular Dynamics. A practical application targeted at biosimulations is introduced using the GROMACS package.

Coding

Introduction to Python

This workshop will cover an introduction to the Python programming language, including syntax, variables and data structures. While not necessary, some experience with programming concepts would be helpful. By the end of the workshop, you should be able to read Python programs and be able to write simple ones of your own. (2 hours) (Slides)

Survey of Scientific Python Packages

Intermediate, 1 hour

This lecture assumes that you have some experience with the Python programming language. It will cover several packages, including numpy and scipy, that are useful in doing scientific computations. Several different examples will be discussed, including solving PDEs, solving systems of equations, and even doing symbolic computations.

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Python – Profiling & Optimizing Code

This workshop assumes that you have some previous Python experience. You will learn many of the tools available to profile your code and find the trouble spots. Once located, the second half of the workshop presents a series of tips and tricks that may be able to help you speed up the execution of your program. (1.5 hours) (Slides)

Fortran as a Second Language

Advanced, 4 hours
Prerequisites: Familiarity with some other programming language 
Requirements: A laptop

A great deal of high-performance computing software is written in Fortran, but few universities offer courses in the language any more. If you have to work with “legacy code” written in Fortran, adding features, porting to a new machine, or patching errors, or if you want to write user-defined functions for engineering packages such as CFX, then this workshop is for you.

C as a Second Language

Advanced, 4 hours
Prerequisites: Familiarity with some other programming language 
Requirements: A laptop

A great deal of high-performance computing software is written in C, but few universities offer courses in the language any more. If you have to work with “legacy code” written in C, adding features, porting to a new machine, or patching errors, or if you want to write user-defined functions for engineering packages such as Fluent, then this workshop is for you.  

C++ as a Second Language

Advanced, 4 hours
Prerequisites: “C as a Second Language” 
Requirements: A laptop

A great deal of high-performance computing software is written in C++, but few universities offer courses in the language any more. If you have to work with “legacy code” written in C++, adding features, porting to a new machine, or patching errors, or if you want to extend packages like OpenFOAM which are written in C++, then this workshop is for you.  

C++ was designed as an extension of the C language but has its own distinct idiom or style. This workshop assumes that you already know C to the level reached in the prerequisite ACENET workshop, “C as a Second Language”.

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Upcoming Events › training

December 2020

Virtual Lunch + Learn: Cybersecurity for Startups

December 2, 2020 @ 12:00 pm - 1:00 pm

Information  

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ACENET: Programming Basics & Applications for Humanities & Social Science

December 3, 2020 @ 9:00 am - 1:00 pm
|Recurring Event (See all)

An event every week that begins at 9:00 am on Thursday, repeating until December 3, 2020

Introductory workshop for researchers/students who are interested in programming basics…

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Interpreting Data to Drive Growth

December 4, 2020 @ 12:00 pm - 1:00 pm

It's one thing to gather data; it's another to translate…

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Safety First! Securing your Compute Canada Virtual Machine

December 9, 2020 @ 10:00 am - 12:00 pm

If you have a Compute Canada Virtual machine, or are…

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WestGrid: GIS with R

December 9, 2020 @ 2:00 pm - 3:00 pm

This webinar takes an introductory look at working with spatial data in R.

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January 2021

ACENET: Data Organization & Analysis for Humanities and Social Sciences

January 12, 2021 @ 2:00 pm - 5:00 pm
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An event every week that begins at 2:00 pm on Tuesday and Thursday, repeating until January 21, 2021

Beginner, 2 days Prerequisites: None Requirements: A laptop This session…

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ACENET: Data Organization & Analysis for Humanities and Social Sciences

January 14, 2021 @ 2:00 pm - 5:00 pm
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An event every week that begins at 2:00 pm on Tuesday and Thursday, repeating until January 21, 2021

Beginner, 2 days Prerequisites: None Requirements: A laptop This session…

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ACENET: Data Organization & Analysis for Humanities and Social Sciences

January 19, 2021 @ 2:00 pm - 5:00 pm
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An event every week that begins at 2:00 pm on Tuesday and Thursday, repeating until January 21, 2021

Beginner, 2 days Prerequisites: None Requirements: A laptop This session…

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ACENET: Data Organization & Analysis for Humanities and Social Sciences

January 21, 2021 @ 2:00 pm - 5:00 pm
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An event every week that begins at 2:00 pm on Tuesday and Thursday, repeating until January 21, 2021

Beginner, 2 days Prerequisites: None Requirements: A laptop This session…

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