Best Practices for NERSC Training

Yun (Helen) He and Rebecca Hartman-Baker

Volume 13, Issue 1 (April 2022), pp. 23–26

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  author={Yun (Helen) He and Rebecca Hartman-Baker},
  title={Best Practices for NERSC Training},
  journal={The Journal of Computational Science Education},
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The National Energy Research Supercomputing Center (NERSC) at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (LBNL) organizes approximately 20 training events per year for its 8,000 users from 800 projects, who have varying levels of High Performance Computing (HPC) knowledge and familiarity with NERSC's HPC resources. Due to the novel circumstances of the pandemic, NERSC began transforming our traditional smaller-scale, on-site training events to larger-scale, fully virtual sessions in March 2020. We treated this as an opportunity to try new approaches and improve our training best practices. This paper describes the key practices we have developed since the start of this transformation, including considerations for organizing events; collaboration with other HPC centers and the DOE ECP Program to increase reach and impact of events; targeted emails to users to increase attendance; efficient management of user accounts for computational resource access; strategies for preventing Zoombombing; streamlining the publication of professional-quality, closed-captioned videos on the NERSC YouTube channel for accessibility; effective communication channels for Q&A; tailoring training contents to NERSC user needs via close collaboration with vendors and presenters; standardized training procedures and publishing of training materials; and considerations for planning HPC training topics. Most of these practices will be continued after the pandemic as effective norms for training.