What’s so super about supercomputing? A very basic introduction to high performance computing

Tuesday, 2/28/2017
  • 3:00 PM (Eastern)
  • 2:00 PM (Central)
  • 1:00 PM (Mountain)
  • 12:00 PM (Pacific)

hpc graphic from https://pixabay.com/en/ball-about-binary-ball-hand-keep-457334/

This joint LITA and ACRL 90 minute webinar provides a bare-bones introduction to high-performance computing, also known as HPC, supercomputing, and under many other monikers. Academic librarians, particularly, face a landscape in which many of their users conduct part or all of their research using computation. Bibliometric analysis, quantitative statistical analysis, and geographic data visualizations are just a few examples of computationally-intensive work underway in humanities, social science, and science fields.

This landscape also features researchers who are attempting to comply with federal agencies’ grant requirements and may turn to the library for assistance with data management planning, data storage and curation, and connection to other data-related services on and off campus. These services should encompass the range of the data lifecycle, including analysis. Researchers will see the library as a more credible partner when librarians can recognize their needs for computation resources and connect them to appropriate channels.

Covered topics will include:

  • Why librarians should care about HPC
  • HPC terminology and working environment
  • Examples of problems appropriate for HPC
  • HPC resources at institutions and nation-wide
  • Low-cost entry-level programs for learning distributed computing

This program is a unique attempt to connect the academic library to introductory information about HPC. Librarians who are learning about researchers’ data-intensive work should consider familiarizing themselves with the computing environment often used to conduct that work.

The webinar slide set, illustrating the material covered in the workshop, and a handout that includes a HPC glossary of basic HPC terminology and a brief list of institutional and national HPC resources will be made available.

lita and acrl logos

Learning Outcomes

  • Attendees will learn the basic terminology of high performance computing.
  • Attendees will be introduced to the working environment commonly used for high performance computing.
  • Attendees will gain information on institutional and national high performance computing resources available to researchers.

Who Should Attend

This program is primarily intended for academic library employees, particularly those working within research data-related services. More broadly, the content of this program would benefit staff in Research and/or Sponsored Program offices and others new to high-performance computing who work with researchers. Attendees are not expected to have any familiarity with HPC.


Jamene Brooks-Kieffer
Biographical Statement: Jamene Brooks-Kieffer brings a background in electronic resources to her work as Data Services Librarian at the University or Kansas. She regularly teaches on data management practices to audiences of faculty, graduate students, and undergraduates. She has engaged library professionals in many in-person and virtual programs at venues including Electronic Resources & Libraries, Coalition for Networked Information, and a Great Plains Network / Greater Western Library Association webinar series. Her current research interests include researchers' awareness and use of institutional data services, including data storage and computation facilities. She holds degrees from Bryn Mawr College, the University of Mississippi, and Florida State University.
Mark J. Laufersweiler
Dr. Mark Laufersweiler has always had a strong interest in computers, computing, data and data visualization. Upon completing his post-doc work for the ARM program, he was the lead computer systems administrator for 3.5 years serving the FSU Department of Meteorology. He was then the Computer Systems Coordinator for the OU School of Meteorology from 1999-2013.  Part of his duties included managing the real time data feed and maintaining the departmental data archive. He assisted with faculty in their courses to help foster computing skills needed for the classroom and instruction based on current best practices regarding research data and code development. Since the Fall of 2013, he has served as the Research Data Specialist for the University of Oklahoma Libraries. He is currently assisting the educational mission of the Libraries by developing and offering workshops, seminars and short courses, helping to inform the university community on best practices for data management and data management planning. He is the university’s representative as a member of the Software Carpentry Foundation and is an active instructor as well.  He is a strong advocate of open source software and open access to data.



  • LITA or ACRL Member: $45
  • Non-Member: $105
  • Group: $196

Login information will be sent to registrants the just prior to the start date.

How to Register

Register Online  page arranged by session date (login required)


Mail or fax form to ALA Registration

OR call 1-800-545-2433 and press 5

OR email registration@ala.org

Tech Requirements

Live, synchronous lectures will require attendee participation via internet audio. Attendees will need a wired, high-speed internet connection, and a headset or speakers.  It is recommended that attendees use headsets connected to their computers (VOIP) during an Adobe Connect session. All attendees are muted and should use the built in chat function to communicate with presenters.  The use of computer speakers with a mic is not recommended, as it may cause echo. The recommended browser is Mozilla Foxfire although other browsers should work adequately for attending.


For questions about registration, contact ALA Registration:  call 1-800-545-2433 and press 5 or email registration@ala.org.

For all other questions or comments related to the course, contact LITA at (312) 280-4268 or Mark Beatty, mbeatty@ala.org.