Extreme Computing

Extreme Computing is about making the most of a computing cluster, be it processing huge data sets or serving high-volume websites. The course covers high-performance computing at several levels of the stack:
Big data problems, the memory hierarchy, latency requirements, performance considerations, and economics
Processing large amounts of data, sharding, streaming, query processing, and randomised algorithms
Distributed file systems, fault tolerance, replication, job scheduling, and MapReduce/Hadoop
We aim to make students aware of topics using large (> 1000 node) clusters, but not be tied to particular vendors whereever possible. If you want to understand how companies like Amazon, Facebook, Google, Microsoft, and Twitter work, then this is the course for you.


Lectures are Mondays and Thursdays 17:10-18:00 in George Square Lecture Theatre. Labs start week 3.


For extensions and lab scheduling conflicts, contact the Informatics Teaching Organisation.
Lecturer: Kenneth Heafield
Office: 4.21, Informatics Forum, 10 Crichton Street
E-mail: kheafiel at inf.ed


Students should be familiar with the Unix command line and ssh. Information systems provides a primer on the command line.

We do not require a particular programming language. Examples are mostly in Python and Java with occasional C++.

The is a Level-11 course, normally taken in Year 4. It is open to all 4th year, MInf, and MSc students in Informatics.

Mailing List

Announcements regarding the course will be posted to the course mailing list. All students taking the course are automatically subscribed to this list. Previous postings can be accessed using the mailing list archive.

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