Online MPI

ARCHER, the UK's national supercomputing service offers training in software development and high-performance computing to scientists and researchers across the UK.

ARCHER courses are offered free of charge to all academics.


David Henty

David teaches on a wide range of EPCC's technical training courses, including MPI and OpenMP, and is overall course organiser for EPCC's MSc in High Performance Computing.



This online course will run over four sessions on consecutive Wednesday afternoons, starting on Wed 31st January with the last session on Wed 21st Feb.

We will be using Blackboard Collaborate for the course, which is very simple to use and entirely browser-based.

Attendees will register for the course in the usual way at


Week 1 (Wed 31st Jan)

  • 13:30 Welcome and overview
  • 13:45 Message-Passing Concepts
  • 14:30 Practical: Compiling and running an MPI program
  • 15:00 Break
  • 15:30 MPI Programs
  • 16:00 MPI on ARCHER
  • 16:15 Practical: Hello World
  • 17:00 Close

Week 2 (Wed 7th Feb)

  • 13:30 Point-to-point communication
  • 14:15 Practical: Calculating Pi
  • 15:00 Break
  • 15:30 Communicators, tags and modes
  • 16:15 Practical: Calculating Pi
  • 17:00 Close

Week 3 (Wed 14th Feb)

  • 13:30 MPI Quiz
  • 14:15 Pi solution
  • 15:00 Break
  • 15:30 Non-blocking communication
  • 16:15 Practical: Message round a ring
  • 17:00 Close

Week 4 (Wed 21st Feb)

  • 13:30 Ring solution
  • 14:15 Collective communication
  • 15:00 Break
  • 15:30 Practical: Collective communication
  • 16:15 General Q&A
  • 17:00 Close


The material will come from the standard ARCHER MPI course. Slides etc. from the most recent run are available at Videos from a run in 2014 are available at

Course materials page for this course.

Computing requirements

All attendees will need their own desktop or laptop, and it will be much easier if they can compile and run MPI programs on their own machine or log on to a local system with which they are already familiar.

We will provide advice on installing MPI locally in advance of the course. However, we will also offer access to systems at EPCC for the practical sessions if this is not possible.


Although it will be possible for attendees to follow the course sitting in their office, we want to explore ways to help them by providing a network of support from ARCHER Champions.

We are therefore looking for volunteers to give additional support during the practical sessions. This could take any of the following forms:

  • arranging a room at your home institution where people can attend as a group and therefore get peer support for the exercises;
  • hands-on support to attendees in the room, e.g. with logging on and running jobs, or providing MPI expertise if possible;
  • being available for the days between the sessions to answer questions, either face-to-face or online.

A room with a large TV and a laptop with wifi access should be sufficient to host the course.

There will be MPI experts from EPCC available online throughout the course, but we were hoping to enable as many issues as possible to be dealt with locally.

Getting involved

If you are interested in supporting the course then please email and I will add you to our mailing list.


If you have any questions please contact the ARCHER Helpdesk.