foundation hpc skills
course & assessment

foundation hpc skills course & Assessment

The DiRAC Foundation HPC Skills Course is a basic introduction to the principles of HPC and the tools needed to work on an HPC system. The training will help you to develop the skills required to meet your research needs and enable you to utilise DiRAC’s HPC systems effectively. The course focuses on core skills, from basic connection to a system, to laying the foundation for developing robust, high-quality code. 

We assume familiarity with desktop computers, but no prior programming, Linux or HPC experience is required. For those of you who already have some knowledge from undergraduate courses, the material is intended both to refresh, and to fill in gaps and shed light on which aspects are most important.  

Taught Course
The Foundation HPC Skills course is run as a virtual taught + hands-on lecture series, over five half days in consecutive weeks, twice a year in Spring and Autumn.  The dates of the taught course are advertised to All Users via email and on our social media channels. Please note that registration for our October 2023 course is now closed as it is fully oversubscribed.
Self-Paced Format

To give all users the opportunity to access the Foundation HPC Skills course training at a time that is convenient, videos of the lectures and all the materials covered in the course are also available in a self-paced format – please register below to get access.   


If you are a new DiRAC user with less than two years of HPC experience it is mandatory that you take our online multiple-choice HPC Skills assessment within 6 months of signing up for a DiRAC account.  If you have not passed it within that period we will contact you and your supervisor to discuss and if needed, arrange further assistance so you can continue to use DiRAC resources in your research. The taught/self-paced training available on this page covers all topics tested in the assessment.

Scroll down for further details about our courses.

getting access

Please register below to access our Foundation HPC Skills Course in a self-paced format or to take the assessment. Please check back to enrol on our taught course. 

TAUGHT foundation
hpc skills

foundation hpc skills course

hpc skills

foundation hpc skills Course

We host our HPC Skills Foundation Courses bi-annually in a virtual lecture + hands-on format where users can interact with the instructors and work hands-on in the company of HPC Skills mentors on examples. We have five modules in the course which cover all the required skills you will need to get from login to running a simple job on our HPC systems.

FC01 Foundation HPC-Skills 2023

This course will cover the fundamental skills to enable you to use a DiRAC system. Including a version control system like Git, a workload manager like Slurm, and introducing concepts in software engineering.

foundation hpc skills Assessment


FC01A Foundation HPC-Skills – Assessment

This assessment is mandatory for any DiRAC user with less than 2 years of experience in HPC systems. We encourage users to complete the HPC Skills Foundation course before attempting the assessment.

The assessment covers all aspects of fundamental competency covered by the Foundation HPC Skills Course. You don’t have to have taken the course before attempting the assessment, but we would recommend reviewing the topics it covers. The assessment ensures that all researchers have the required skills to run their research codes on DiRAC facilities.

The test should take around 1 hour to complete and consists of 40 multiple-choice questions. You have six months from the date you signed up for a DiRAC SAFE Account to take the assessment and you will receive your mark automatically once you have taken the test. During the six-month period, you may take the assessment multiple times until you achieve a passing grade. To enhance or refresh your knowledge you are encouraged to utilise the appropriate modules within the self-paced course materials provided above.

If you have not taken/passed the assessment within six months we will contact you and your supervisor to discuss the situation. At this point, we will be able to arrange further assistance so you can pass the test and continue to use DiRAC resources in your research. Failure to take this test may result in your account on all DiRAC facilities being suspended.

The test is graded as follows:
  • Pass: 60% – you completed the exam successfully
  • Conditional pass: 50-59% – you may retake the exam within the period and pass
  • No pass: 49% and below – if you have not achieved a pass within six months of signing up for a DiRAC SAFE Account you will be offered additional help by the DiRAC Training team
Good Luck!