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Filling the Gap between Education and Industry: Evidence-Based Methods for Introducing Undergraduate Students to HPC

Educational institutions provide in most cases basic theoretical background covering several computational science topics, however High Performance Computing (HPC) and Parallel and Distributed Computing (PDC) markets require specialized technical profiles. Even the most skilled students are often not prepared to face production HPC applications of thousands of lines nor complex computational frameworks from other disciplines nor heterogeneous multinode machines accessed by hundreds of users. In this paper, we offer an educational package for filling this gap. Leveraging the 4-years experience of the Student Cluster Competition, we present our educational journey together with the lessons learned and the outcomes of our methodology. We show how, in a time span of a semester and an affordable budget, a university can implement an educational package preparing pupils for starting competitive professional careers. Our findings also highlight that 78% of the students exposed to our methods remain within the HPC high-education, research or industry.