Postgraduate study

High Performance Computing

Awards: MSc, PgDip

Study modes: Full-time, Part-time

Funding available

Programme website: High Performance Computing

You will study at EPCC, the UK’s leading supercomputing centre. EPCC is the major provider of high performance computing (HPC) training in Europe with an international reputation for excellence in HPC education and research.

Our staff have a wealth of expertise across all areas of HPC, parallel programming technologies and data science.

This MSc programme has a strong practical focus and provide access to leading- edge HPC systems such as ARCHER, which is the UK’s largest, fastest and most powerful supercomputer, with more than 100,000 CPU cores.

HPC is the use of powerful processors, networks and parallel supercomputers to tackle problems that are very computationally or data-intensive. You will learn leading-edge HPC technologies and skills to exploit the full potential of the world’s largest supercomputers and multicore processors. This is a well-established programme that has been successful in training generations of specialists in parallel programming.

The MSc programme takes the form of two semesters of taught courses followed by a dissertation project.

Your studies will have a strong practical focus and you will have access to a wide range of HPC platforms and technologies. You will take seven compulsory courses, which provide a broad-based coverage of the fundamentals of HPC, parallel computing and data science. The option courses focus on specialist areas relevant to computational science. Assessment is by a combination of coursework and examination.

Taught courses

Compulsory courses:

  • HPC Architectures (Semester 1)
  • Message-Passing Programming (Semester 1)
  • Programming Skills (Semester 1)
  • Threaded Programming (Semester 1)
  • Software Development (Semester 2)
  • Project Preparation (Semester 2)
  • HPC Ecosystem (Semester 2)

Optional courses:

  • Fundamentals of Data Management (Semester 1)
  • Parallel Numerical Algorithms (Semester 1)
  • Parallel Programming Languages (Semester 1)
  • Advanced Parallel Programming (Semester 2)
  • Data Analytics with High Performance Computing (Semester 2)
  • Parallel Design Patterns (Semester 2)
  • Performance Programming (Semester 2)
  • Courses from the School of Informatics, Mathematics or Physics (up to 30 credits)

Dissertation

After completing the taught courses, students work on a three-month individual project leading to a dissertation.

Dissertation projects may be either research-based or industry-based with an external organisation, with opportunities for placements in local companies.

Industry-based dissertation projects

Through our strong links with industry, we offer our students the opportunity to undertake their dissertation project with one of a wide range of local companies.

An industry-based dissertation project can give you the opportunity to enhance your skills and employability by tackling a real-world project, gaining workplace experience, exploring potential career paths and building relationships with local companies.

Our graduates are employed across a range of commercial areas, for example software development, petroleum engineering, finance and HPC support. Others have gone on to PhD research in fields that use HPC technologies, including astrophysics, biology, chemistry, geosciences, informatics and materials science.

The minimum entry requirement is a relevant UK 2:1 degree, or its international equivalent, or equivalent work experience. You must also be a competent programmer in C, C++, Fortran, Java or Python.

International qualifications

Check whether your international qualifications meet our general entry requirements:

English language requirements

If English is not your first language, you must have one of the following qualifications as evidence of your spoken and written English:

  • IELTS Academic: total 6.5 (at least 6.0 in each module)
  • TOEFL-iBT: total 92 (at least 20 in each module)
  • PTE(A): total 61 (at least 56 in each of the "Communicative Skills" sections)
  • CAE and CPE: total 176 (at least 169 in each module)

If you completed a CAE or CPE before January 2015 please contact the Admissions Office for the accepted grades.

Find out more about our language requirements:

  • School of Physics & Astronomy
  • James Clerk Maxwell Building
  • Peter Guthrie Tait Road
  • The King's Buildings Campus
  • Edinburgh
  • EH9 3FD

We encourage you to apply at least one month prior to entry so that we have enough time to process your application. If you are also applying for funding or will require a visa then we strongly recommend you apply as early as possible. We may consider late applications if we have places available, but you should contact the relevant Admissions Office for advice first.

You must submit a reference with your application.

Find out more about the general application process for postgraduate programmes:

Further information

  • School of Physics & Astronomy
  • James Clerk Maxwell Building
  • Peter Guthrie Tait Road
  • The King's Buildings Campus
  • Edinburgh
  • EH9 3FD