HPC Onboarding for Biologists


The National Center for Genome Analysis Support (NCGAS) provides this high performance computing (HPC) workshop to help new users learn about HPC resources available to them, other course offerings, and NCGAS services.

The NCGAS was funded by the National Science Foundation under Grant Nos. DBI-1062432 2011 ABI-1458641 2015 , and ABI-1759906 2018  to Indiana University.

Online course available via Expand

View course in Expand

Learning Objectives

By the end of this workshop, participants should leave with the following knowledge:

  • High-performance systems at IU and their general purpose
  • National resources available to them: The Extreme Science and Engineering Discovery Environment (XSEDE) and Jetstream
  • Linux basics
  • Additional courses that may benefit their research or work
  • How to receive help for both genomic and computational questions at IU

Prerequisite Skills

  • For online courses, you will need your own computer and access to the internet
  • For in-person workshops, a laptop is required—if you do not have one, contact the organizer to borrow one

Course modules include:

  • Introduction to HPC in biology
  • Welcome to the Cluster—an orientation to using clusters with links to other resources/courses
  • Welcome to the Cloud— an overview of Jetstream and available tools
  • Introducing PonyLinux—a cute My Little Pony-based Game to learn Linux use
  • NCGAS resources/UITS offerings—IT Training, workshops, etc. to build on this course


  • Day 1:
    • Receive Introduction video
    • Begin self-directed course online
    • Instructors available for one hour to help with login and getting started questions (via Canvas/Piazza)
  • Day 2:
    • Continue self-directed course online
    • Instructors available for four hours to answer community questions, do one-on-one consultations, and foster collaboration between students (via Canvas/Piazza)
  • Day 3:
    • Instructors available for one hour to answer final questions and give specific instructions about Pony race (via Canvas/Piazza)

Go to the archive of talks from the May 2020 and February 2021 workshop

HPC Onboarding for Biologists (on YouTube)

The Supercomputing for Everyone Series (SC4ES) aims to bring more users into the realm of advanced computing, whether it be visualization, computation, analytics, storage, or any related discipline. Research Technologies can take you to the next level of computing.

Supercomputing for Everyone Series workshops and seminars are led by personnel from Research Technologies, a division of University Information Technology Services and a center in the Pervasive Technology Institute at Indiana University.