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Learner Reviews & Feedback for Introduction to High-Performance and Parallel Computing by University of Colorado Boulder

95 ratings

About the Course

This course introduces the fundamentals of high-performance and parallel computing. It is targeted to scientists, engineers, scholars, really everyone seeking to develop the software skills necessary for work in parallel software environments. These skills include big-data analysis, machine learning, parallel programming, and optimization. We will cover the basics of Linux environments and bash scripting all the way to high throughput computing and parallelizing code. We recommend you are familiar with either Fortran 90, C++, or Python to complete some of the programming assignments. After completing this course, you will familiar with: *The components of a high-performance distributed computing system *Types of parallel programming models and the situations in which they might be used *High-throughput computing *Shared memory parallelism *Distributed memory parallelism *Navigating a typical Linux-based HPC environment *Assessing and analyzing application scalability including weak and strong scaling *Quantifying the processing, data, and cost requirements for a computational project or workflow This course can be taken for academic credit as part of CU Boulder’s Master of Science in Data Science (MS-DS) degree offered on the Coursera platform. The MS-DS is an interdisciplinary degree that brings together faculty from CU Boulder’s departments of Applied Mathematics, Computer Science, Information Science, and others. With performance-based admissions and no application process, the MS-DS is ideal for individuals with a broad range of undergraduate education and/or professional experience in computer science, information science, mathematics, and statistics. Learn more about the MS-DS program at

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1 - 25 of 45 Reviews for Introduction to High-Performance and Parallel Computing

By Marina N

Feb 20, 2021

This course needs to do some serious improvement work on the auto-grader and the exact instructions for what the auto-grader is expecting. I spent hours on incredibly stupid issues, like the Week 4 assignment needs a blank row on line four for the auto-grader to accept it. The discussion forums are full of confused students who know the material but can't get the auto-grader to pass, due to vague instructions. The video content is good and I enjoyed the teacher, but this course should really be removed from Coursera until the technical issues are fixed.

By Jakub D

Feb 20, 2021

Amazing contents of the videos. The assignments are absolute disaster-it's such a pity.

By Heino H G

Feb 5, 2021

There were simply too many technical issues with the jupyter notebook assignments. One should not have to modify hidden .config.ini files etc.

By Taegun P

Feb 16, 2021

Many of the concepts covered by the lecture are vague and you'll need to refer to extra resources to understand what it's all about. Not to mention that the homework environments are broken and descriptions are misleading.

By Jose L F B

Aug 23, 2021

While teaching material is progressive and suitable for an introductory course, a large part of the programming assignments have been poorly written or deliver incomplete instructions. This, together with the very scarce value of the automated grading tool - replies are hardly useable - makes it often impossible to understand the errors and causes a substantial waste of time, not proportionate to the complexity of the assignment itself. Moreover, the lack of replies from supervisors or instructors to the numerous queries posted by students seems to show that this course is running unattended. Coursera should seriously consider removing it from its portfolio, considering the very low return on investment for students.

By Rob H

Aug 30, 2021

Do NOT waste your time taking this course. While the videos give you a good understanding, the submission components are broken. Additionally the first "week" is only about Linux commands and not related to HPC. This course needs a significant overhaul.

By Markus B

Sep 19, 2021

In the video lectures, the instructor only reads out loud the text on the slides. However, the lectures are not so bad, although more detailed information would be very helpful. The quizzes are very easy (too easy?) and each quiz consists of ~5 questions. The programming assignments are also very, very basic. The actual task is to figure out what should be done and what the correct input format is. I spend >90% of my time reading compaints in the discussion threads hoping for clarification and only <10% of my time coding. Even questions that have been asked 3 months ago remained unanswered by the instructors who seem to be absent from the course. Luckily, some couse participants figured out what the instructors expect as a solution and shared this information.

In conclusion, this was the worst coursera course I have ever taken and I strongly suggest coursera to take action (either take this course offline or make sure it is improved).

By Wesley F

Sep 30, 2021

This course is generally pretty good. The instruction is good and I didn't have trouble with most of the assignments. However, the instructions in the week 4 assignments aren't really clear about what is expected in order for a learner to pass.

The instructions for the Strong Scaling Study and the Weak Scaling Study should be: enter three lines in your submission file that represent what flags and parameters you would write after "mpiexec -np N ./scale.out" to complete the command for N=1,2,4. Basically, what X, Y and T should be used for N=1,2,4 depending on which scaling study you're conducting. Make sure that you press enter after the third line so that the total number of lines in the submission file is 4.

If the course facilitators could update the instructions for the Strong Scaing Study and the Weak Scaling Study to be more clear about what is expected, learners would like this course more and rate it higher. As it is right now, the instructions imply that you are to run the commands and submit the result to the grader, when in actuality, you are expected to enter the parameter part of the commands for each case of N=1,2,4 to pass the assignment.

By Drew G

Feb 7, 2021

Good course. The lectures and interesting and the mini-cluster provides an excellent practice environment. The only reason I didn't give it five stars is because some of the assignment prompts are ambiguous and the autograder does not provide any helpful feedback on what you missed. I spent 3+ weeks trying to finish one assignment that should have taken a few hours. But the course is otherwise worth your while if you want a solid introduction to HPC.

By Christian B

Oct 5, 2022

Course itself nice, exercises and what needs to be uploaded is a mess - luckily there are some hints in discussion threads from other frustrated participants.

By Reema G

Sep 21, 2022

The videos are great but the assignments are not clear at all, it leads to a lot of waste of time, demotivation and not much gain of actual technical knowledge. It is understandable that auto graders are difficult to work with, but some course support would have been good.

By Denis B T

Oct 16, 2021

There is no support in the course, do not expect someone helping you with the poorly written assignments.

By Oscar R S R

Jun 9, 2021

A very good and interesting HPC introduction course!

By Rob G

May 13, 2022

Course information was valuable. The lack of feedback on submitting assigments is quite frustrating.

By Naveen M

Sep 20, 2022

some assignment are not well described

By Shannon D

Sep 6, 2021

this course was good except that the instructions for some of the assignments are super unclear, the discussion forum is full of people who have wasted hours on tiny little things that could only be found out y trial and error as the required solution for the grading bot doesnt match the assignment instructions. The course authors did not reply within the 3 months it took me to eventually pass all the assignments. so if you just wanna learn this course is good, but if you actually want the certificate and not be annoyed stay away! :)

By Jing Y

Aug 16, 2022

The content is a good start for those who had little programing experience. The assignments drove me creazy. Exploring the discussion forum to see hints for assignments will save you a lot of time.


Mar 18, 2021

Good for an introduction of HPC concepts, but some lectures leave a lot to be desired. In some videos the instructor is just reading out what is written on the slide, without expanding or providing more context. Instructions for some of the assignments were confusing, the submission process was buggy. Thanks to all the students that contributed in the discussion forums where pointers like "add blank line at the end", "edit .config.ini file" etc. proved very valuable. I expected more for a course I paid $ to attend.

By Michelle W

Apr 3, 2021

Great basic overview, I finally understand what IT is talking about in meetings. I also appreciate the overview of parallel computing and how to structure programs for best advantage. However, the coursera lab environment is buggy. So, I spent more time struggling to just submit the assignments, instead of understanding the assignment.


Dec 9, 2021

Assignments : Lack of clarity in problem statement.

By Amee M

Nov 19, 2023

Make something that would not waste people's precious time. Get better ways. Waste of time.


Sep 18, 2022

cannot submit the first assignment without explanation

By Theodore B

Apr 21, 2023

Great introduction, very clear instructions, and assignments were manageable. Did require some extra reading outside the course to solidify some concepts for myself, but Dr. Knuth provides a solid, coherent base from which to explore further.

By John R

Dec 20, 2023

Good course with good overview of HPC systems.

By Dylan B

Feb 28, 2024

Very informative course