Supercomputers are immensely powerful computers that help in solving some of the world’s biggest problems. They are capable of advanced modeling and computing that has only been possible for awhile, and although they share common components with ordinary laptops, their computing power is something entirely different.
But how powerful is a supercomputer? Why do we need them and what are their building blocks? What are their main advantages and possibilities? In this course we’ll examine these questions and many more. This free online course is open for everyone interested in supercomputers and high-performance computing. By the end of the course, you will have the theoretical knowledge needed to understand the basic principles of a supercomputer and HPC (high performance computing). We’ll also take a look at some real-life examples and practical use cases of these amazing machines.
There are two sign-in options available: guest and student. Get started by clicking the "Sign in" button, located in the top right corner of the front page. Fill in your information and create your profile. From there you can choose if you wish to be a guest or a student. If you just want to browse the course without getting 1 ECTS credit or diploma, then the guest option might be a suitable alternative for you. In this case, do not add your social security number. However, if you want to complete the full course and get ECTS credits and a diploma, then signing in as a student is the correct choice. For Finnish citizens the social security number is required to sign in as a student. For foreign students the date of birth is required to sign in as a student.
Guest status can be changed to a student status whenever you want if you change your mind about the ECTS credit or diploma. Just go to your profile and update your profile information (select "student" and add your social security number or data of birth). Guests also get pop-ups that provide links to update their status to student when moving forward in the course.
This beginner-level course is intended for everyone interested to learn more about supercomputing. The course includes six thematic chapters covering the following areas:
Every chapter includes a few separate sections. The estimated time to complete the course is 15-30 hours (~1 ECTS credit). Your learning progress will be tested with knowledge check questions within these sections. To complete the course, you must pass all these questions. In knowledge check questions the number of attempts is not limited.
You’ll also find a short exam at the end of chapters 1-5. You will be provided with five (5) attempts for every exam. This should be enough if you have carefully studied and understood the key points addressed in the chapters.
Receiving ECTS credit and diploma
When all the knowledge check questions and short exams are completed, a diploma and 1 ECTS credit will be granted for those who have registered as a student.
The diploma will be sent within a few weeks to the email you gave on your profile also in case you have registered as guest, but also have added your social security number
The study credit (1 ECTS) will be registered in the student records of Kajaani University of Applied Sciences (KAMK) within three weeks.
If you are a student in Finland and want to apply for credits at your own university
You can also apply credits based on the diploma and the course description (
At KAMK the study credit is primarily accepted into elective studies. Other universities, universities of applied sciences and educational institutions might have their own eligibility criteria and acceptance procedures regarding open online courses.
The course has been developed by CSC - IT Center for Science and Kajaani University of Applied Sciences (KAMK).
CSC – IT Center for Science is a Finnish center of expertise in information technology owned by the Finnish state and higher education institutions. CSC provides high-quality ICT expert services internationally for higher education institutions, research institutes, culture, public administration, and enterprises. In addition, CSC operates the Finnish national supercomputers and hosts the joint European LUMI supercomputer.
Kajaani University of Applied Sciences (KAMK) is a proactive, genuinely international learning and development community with a strong regional and national profile. KAMK operates in its own compact campus area at Kajaani. In ICT education, KAMK is specialized in data centers, smart systems/IoT, artificial intelligence and data management, and game technology/development.