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Australian National University

  • Code COMP6464
  • Unit Value 6 units
  • Offered by Research School of Computer Science
  • Offered in First Semester 2014
  • Classification Advanced
  • Course subject Computer Science
  • Areas of interest Computer Science, Information Technology
  • Academic career Graduate
  • Course convener
    • Dr Alistair Rendell

This course provides an introduction to High Performance Computing with an orientation towards applications in science and engineering. Aspects of numerical computing and the design and construction of sophisticated scientific software will be considered. The focus will be on the C and C++ programming languages, although reflecting the reality of modern scientific computation this course will also touch on other languages such as Python, Java and FORTRAN95. The course will study high performance computer architectures, including modern parallel processors, and will describe how an algorithm interacts with these architectures. It will also look at practical methods of estimating and measuring algorithm/architecture performance.

The following topics will be addressed: the C++ programming language; basic numerical computing from aspects of floating point error analysis to algorithms for solving differential equations; the engineering of scientific software; general high performance computing concepts and architectural principles; modern scalar architectures and their memory structure; performance and programmability issues, and program analysis techniques for high performance computing; parallel computing paradigms and programming using the OpenMP standard; trends in HPC systems.

Learning Outcomes

Upon completion of the course, students should:

  • appreciate the building blocks of scientific and engineering software.
  • be able to apply a basic knowledge of numerical computing using an appropriate programming language.
  • be competent in experimental computing in a numerical context and of the optimisation of algorithms on high performance architectures.
  • be able to reason about the accuracy of mathematical and numerical models of real physical phenomena.
  • have an awareness of the modern field of computational science and engineering and of the impact of high performance computing on science and industry.
  • have an understanding of the various paradigms of high performance computing and their potential for performance and programmability.
  • be able to write algorithms yielding good performance on high-performance architectures, and to be able to estimate and evaluate their performance.

Indicative Assessment

Assignment (40%); Mid semester exam (10%); Final Exam (50%)

Requisite and Incompatibility

To enrol in this course you must have completed COMP6700 or COMP6710; or be studying Master of Computing 7705 or Master of Computing 7706.

Prescribed Texts

Buyya, R. High Performance Cluster Computing: Programming and Applications, Prentice Hall, Upper Saddle River, New Jersey 1999.

Dowd, K. & Severance, C. High Performance Computing, 2nd edition, O'Reilly & Associates Inc, 1998.

Fosdick, L.D. Jessup, E.R., Schauble, C.J.C. & Domik,G., An Introduction to High-Performance Scientific Computing, The MIT Press, 1996.

Heath, M.T. Scientific Computation - An Introductory Survey, McGraw-Hill, 1997.

Assumed Knowledge

Ability to develop small to medium sized programs in C/C++. Basic knowledge of computer systems. Mathematical skills equivalent to those normally taught in introductory courses at a university.


Tuition fees are for the academic year indicated at the top of the page.  Tuition fees will be published by 1 October for the next year.

If you are a domestic graduate coursework or international student you will be required to pay tuition fees. Students continuing in their current program of study will have their tuition fees indexed annually from the year in which you commenced your program. Further information for domestic and international students about tuition and other fees can be found at Fees.

Student Contribution Band:
Band 2
Unit value:
6 units

If you are an undergraduate student and have been offered a Commonwealth supported place, your fees are set by the Australian Government for each course. At ANU 1 EFTSL is 48 units (normally 8 x 6-unit courses). You can find your student contribution amount for each course at Fees.  Where there is a unit range displayed for this course, not all unit options below may be available.

6.00 0.12500

Course Fees:

Domestic fee paying students

Year Commencing Fee
1994-2003 $1980
2004 $2088
2005 $2088
2006 $2088
2007 $2088
2008 $2190
2009 $2916
2010 $2916
2011 $2946
2012 $2946
2013 $2946
2014 $2952

International fee paying students

Year Commencing Fee
1994-2003 $3450
2004 $3450
2005 $3534
2006 $3618
2007 $3618
2008 $3618
2009 $3618
2010 $3750
2011 $3756
2012 $3756
2013 $3756
2014 $3762


First Semester, 2014

Class number Class start date Last day to enrol Census date Class end date
4789 17 Feb 2014 07 Mar 2014 31 Mar 2014 30 May 2014

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