Expanding Interactive Computing to Facilitate Informal Instruction in Research Computing

Richard Lawrence, Tri M. Pham, Phi T. Au, Xin Yang, Kyle Hsu, Stuti H. Trivedi, Lisa M. Perez, and Dhruva K. Chakravorty

Volume 13, Issue 1 (April 2022), pp. 50–54


PDF icon Download PDF

  author={Richard Lawrence and Tri M. Pham and Phi T. Au and Xin Yang and Kyle Hsu and Stuti H. Trivedi and Lisa M. Perez and Dhruva K. Chakravorty},
  title={Expanding Interactive Computing to Facilitate Informal Instruction in Research Computing},
  journal={The Journal of Computational Science Education},
Copied to clipboard!

Successful outreach to computational researchers for informing about the benefits of switching to a different computing environment depends on the educator's ability to showcase practical research and development workflows in the new computing environment. Interactive, graphical computing environments are crucial to engage learners in computing education and offer researchers easier ways to adopt new technologies. Interactive, graphical computing allows learners to see the results of their work in real time, which provides the needed feedback for learning and enables chunking of complex tasks. Moreover, there is a natural synergy between computing education and computing research; researchers who are exposed to new computing skills within the context of an interactive and engaging environment are more likely to retain the new skills and adopt the new computing environment in their research and development workflows. Support for interactive, graphical workflows with modern computing tools in containerized computing environments has to be incorporated on high performance computing systems. To begin to address this deficiency, here we discuss our approach to teach containerization technologies in the popular integrated development environment of the Jupyter Notebook. We report on our scheme for implementing containerized software environments for interactive, graphical computing within the Open OnDemand (OOD) framework for research computing workflows, providing an accessible on-ramp for researchers transitioning to containerized technologies. In addition, we introduce several quality-of-life improvements for researchers and educators that will encourage them to continue to use the platform.