The HPC community has always considered the training of new and existing HPC practitioners to be of high importance to its growth. The significance of training will increase even further in the era of Exascale when HPC encompasses even more scientific disciplines. This diversification of HPC practitioners challenges the traditional training approaches, which are not able to satisfy the specific needs of users, often coming from non-traditionally HPC disciplines and only interested in learning a particular set of skills. HPC centres are struggling to identify and overcome the gaps in users’ knowledge. How should we support prospective and existing users who are not aware of their own knowledge gaps?

The diversification of HPC practitioners challenges the traditional training approaches, which are not able to satisfy the specific needs of users, often coming from non-traditionally HPC disciplines and only interested in learning a particular set of skills. HPC practitioners are expected to have various HPC skills, however, those “skills” have not been well-defined until now. The ability to speak a common language – among HPC educators and users – is critical.

The HPCCF strives to identify this set of competencies for HPC users. It is our aim to thereby facilitate course offers across HPC sites and to provide a certification procedure for HPC practitioners. Ultimately, we aim for the certificates to be recognized and respected by the HPC community and industry.


An international HPC Certification program benefits the various stakeholders such as practitioners , data centers, and training providers.

  • HPC practitioners
    • Increase motivation to participate as the certificates are recognized in a CV
    • Validate knowledge via tests
    • Browse relevant competencies
    • Identify recommended and required skills related to certain tasks
    • Understand and compare teaching offers across sites
  • Data centers
    • Tailor skill-tree specifically to users
    • Correlate lack of skills with efficient use
  • Training provider
    • Increase sharing of teaching materials
    • Simplifies documentation of taught skills
    • Identify missing teaching activities

The program brings multiple benefits to everyone involved in HPC teaching and training. Making clear what skills are required or recommended for a competent HPC user would be helpful to both the HPC service providers and practitioners. Training providers could bundle together skills that are most beneficial for specific user roles and scientific domains, which would allow practitioners to browse through skills to quickly identify and learn the skills required to perform their tasks. The variety of training offered within our community makes finding the right resources more complicated than it should be – the certification program will provide useful information where the desired skills could be learned.

The examination confirming that a certain set of competencies has been acquired makes the learning process more complete and meaningful. By participating in the program, HPC training providers can increase the visibility of their teaching opportunities and share their resources more effectively. The mapping of the skills defined by the program onto the existing training materials should also help to identify any potential gaps and improve the integrity of offered training. Finally, the certificates recognised by the whole HPC community simplify inter-comparison of independently offered courses and provide additional incentive for participation. Overall, the flexibility of the program allows to construct more personalised and just-in-time pathways to learning about HPC.


The roles within the forum are as follows.


Membership to the forum is free.

  • Associated member
    • Anyone and any institution can become an associated member to the forum.
  • Full member
    • Everyone actively contributing to the project is considered to be a full member. We anticipate a contribution of a few hours per month.
    • Full members have voting rights on the annual general assembly.

Steering Board

The direction of this initiative is managed by the steering board. The executive roles for the board are:

  • General Chair:
    • Chairs the overall executive board
    • Chairs meetings and conference calls
  • Skill-tree curator (STC):
    • Decides new curriculum releases
    • Merges changes suggested by TC
  • Topic curator (TC)
    • Curates a subtree
    • Funnels change requests of members
  • Examination curator (EC)
    • Manages the exam process and the question pool
  • Publicity chair (PC)
    • Develops and implements PR strategy

The steering board members are full members elected annually during the general assembly.

Current Steering Board

The steering board for the period 2020/2021 is:

  • General chair: Julian Kunkel (University of Reading)
  • Skill-tree curator: Kai Himstedt (University of Hamburg)
  • Topic curators:
    • HPC Knowledge: Lev Lafayette (University of Melbourne)
    • Performance Engineering: Anja Gerbes (University of Frankfurt)
    • Sofware Development: Roberto Villegas-Diaz (South Dakota State University)
    • Administration: Sudeep Narayan Banerjee (Indian Institute of Technology Gandhinagar)
    • Use of the HPC Environment: jointly managed by the board
    • Big Data: jointly managed by the board
  • Examination curator: Christian Meesters (University of Mainz)
  • Publicity chair: Weronika Filinger (EPCC)
  • Webpage curator: We are looking for someone to take this position! Contact the board!

Contact Us

Feel free to reach out to us via the email address of the executive board: board@hpc-certification.org.