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This is the document that defines the curriculum module format for the LittleFe 6-node, Beowulf-style, portable computational cluster. The purpose of these curricular materials is to assist with teaching the application of high-performance computing to particular problems in science, engineering or mathematics using LittleFe.

This materials development effort is in partnership with HPC University (HPCU) and the Computational Science Education Reference Desk (CSERD), a Pathways portal of National Science Digital Library (NSDL). These digital libraries broadly disseminate the materials through reference to the actual materials hosted on the LittleFe website, which allows for the update and extensions to be maintained in one place, with always current listings in the catalogs for CSERD, HPCU, and NSDL.

Email your materials to the LittleFe developers mailing list,, which will initiate the formal verification, validation, and accreditation (VVA) peer-review process prior to being published.

The VVA peer-review process includes:

Is the problem framed correctly?
Do the materials provide an accurate representation of the science, math, and computation relating to the problem or phenomenon described?
Is the problem solved correctly?
Does the mathematical and computational implementation accurately represent the developer's conceptual description and specifications?
Is the problem aimed at the correct audience/education level?
Are the curricular materials and associated activities acceptable for use in teaching students the application of high-performance computing to problems in science and engineering?
Is the science, math, and computing appropriate for educational level of the expected students?

Use the following summary of the UCES, Keck/NSF model to develop your curricular modules. It is entirely possible that your curriculum modules are best described in a hierarchical fashion. Please feel free to do so. This summary directly helps with describing each individual module, but certainly also applies to an aggregation of modules.

Each module should include:

  • Overview
    • Objectives
    • Expected student goals and outcomes
    • Expected duration for student to complete the materials (examples - 1 class session, 1 week of a course, 1 semester, ...)
    • What pre-requisites will help the intended audience be effective in completing module objectives?
  • Scientific question (or possible applications to introductory materials)
  • Computational model(s)
  • Algorithm(s)
  • Software implementation(s)
  • Example problem(s) or student exercise(s) for exploration of the materials
  • Rubric for assessment
    • Solution set or some other measured or pre-set way to determine student comprehension and/or growth.
  • References

Module deliverables should include (but are not limited to):

  • Module document containing background for scientific question (or applications), models, algorithms, and exercises
  • Working code for all software implementations, demonstrations, and/or examples, including relevant Makefiles
  • Documentation, help manuals, and/or README files to accompany software implementations and other module materials
  • Presentation slides (if applicable)
  • Metadata associated with the module
    • Title, Authors/Contributors List, Short description, Subjects, Keywords, Education Level

This effort is similar to that conducted by Shodor in the Blue Waters Petascale program, and some of those modules have also been ported to LittleFe/BCCD.

A list of existing curriculum modules developed for LittleFe/BCCD is published on the BCCD wiki.