HPC 101 — High Performance Computing Workshop


This course will provide an overview of cluster computing in general and how to use the U-M Flux Cluster in particular. Topics to be covered include cluster computing concepts, common parallel programming models, introduction to the Flux Cluster; creating, submitting, observing, and analyzing cluster jobs; common pitfalls and how to avoid them; and some useful tools. We will issue you a temporary allocation to use for the course, or you can use your existing Flux allocations, if any. Short sample programs will be provided, or come to class with your own.


HPC 100 or equivalent. This course assumes familiarity with the Linux command line.

A user account on Flux. If you do not have a Flux user account, click here to go to the account application page at: https://arc-ts.umich.edu/fluxform/

An activated MToken. You need to obtain an MToken and activate it. Visit Obtaining, Activating, and Using an MToken for instructions.


Bennet Fauber
Senior Applications Programmer/Analyst
Advanced Research Computing — Technology Services

Bennet Fauber is a member of the technical team that administers the Flux cluster.


In-class handouts

Supplementary material


In order to use the Flux cluster successfully, you must have a Flux user account, a Flux allocation (one will be provided for the class), and an MToken. The user account and MToken allow you to log in to the cluster, create, compile, and test applications, and prepare Flux jobs for submission. The allocation allows you to submit those jobs, which execute on the cluster and charge against the allocation.

Flux user account

If you already already possess a user account, you can use it for this course. A user account is free to members of the University community.

On the web form you’ll be asked to fill out, you should enter your own project and software information. The project can be anything, and if you are not sure about software, simply put N/A.

Please note that obtaining an account requires human processing, so be sure to do this at least three business days before class begins.

Flux allocation

We’ll issue you a temporary allocation so you can run jobs on the cluster during the course. If you already have access to a Flux allocation, you can use that, if you like.


An MToken (hardware or software) is required to log in to the cluster. When logging in, you will need to give both the passcode it displays at time of login as well as your UMICH password in order to authenticate. If you already have an MToken, you can ignore the rest of this section.

If you need an MToken, follow the instructions at Obtaining, Activating, and Using an MToken.

Laptop Preparation

You do not need to bring your own laptop to class. The classroom contains Mac OS X computers, which require your uniqname and UMICH password to login, and that have all necessary software pre-loaded.

If you want to use a laptop for the course, you are welcome to do so. However, if there are problems connecting your laptop, you will be asked to switch to the provided computer for the class. We will not stop to debug connection issues with personal or departmental laptops during the class. We will answer questions after class.

If you want to try to prepare your laptop for use in the class, here are some steps to follow.

  • You will need an ssh client to connect to the Flux cluster. Mac OS X and Linux platforms have this built-in. Here are a couple of choices for Windows platforms:
  • Optionally, you can use an X server on your laptop to open GUI displays from the Flux cluster. Mac OS X and Linux platforms have this built-in. If you have a Windows platform, consider downloading and installing Xming (http://sourceforge.net/projects/xming/). Visit the “Project home” link at this URL for additional documentation.

    At the time of writing, a good set of instructions for this is at the Penn State Institute for CyberScience Installing Xming X11 on Windows web page.

More help

Please use our class mailing list hpc101course@umich.edu for questions, comments, or to seek further assistance.