June 18, 2006
June 18, 2006
June 21, 2006
Electrical and Computer
11.418.1 - 11.418.10
Designing and Implementing a Parallel Computing Curriculum Based on Beowulf Clustering1
The Computer Science/Computer Information Systems (CS/CIS) Department at The University of Texas at Brownsville (UTB) has improved its curriculum by including parallel computing topics based on a computing and networking laboratory (CNL)1. Built around a 24-node distributed Beowulf2,3 supercomputer, the main goal of CNL is to enhance the understanding of parallel computing principles in key courses of the Bachelor of Science in Computer Science (BS-CS) degree, the two-year Associate in Applied Science in Computer Information Systems (AAS-CIS), and the four-year Bachelor of Applied Technology in Computer Information Systems Technology (BAT-CIST).
The strategy has been to use this supercomputer as the main instrument to infuse concepts and principles into targeted courses by creating a set of laboratory modules and capstone projects. Such project framework in CS education is strongly emphasized in the ACM/IEEE-CS curricula model4. CNL has aided in motivating the students by engaging them in integrating distributed computing and networking concepts into their course work through laboratory modules and capstone projects.
There are benefits in joining the practice and theory of different computer science areas via an integrated laboratory environment such as the one provided by CNL. First, it is easier to develop laboratory modules that help students to put different theoretical concepts together5,6. Second, an integrated laboratory is a low-cost solution compared to developing separate physical laboratories to serve different areas of computer science.
The laboratory has proved to be a dynamic educational tool for providing in depth understanding of essential concepts by incorporating state-of-the-art technologies into the curricula. This has allowed educators to keep on developing new laboratory modules for enriching their courses. In addition to currently implemented modules in areas like networking, databases and operating systems, new modules in areas such as encryption, autonomous intelligent systems, and web design and programming are planned to be developed, for example.
After being supported originally by NSF, the CNL project has reached maturity and it is now institutionalized. This paper details the rationale, scope and achievements of the project. The
1 This material is based upon work supported by the National Science Foundation under Grant No. 0101648.
Khan, F., & Quweider, M., & Iglesias, J., & Zaim, A. (2006, June), Designing And Implementing A Parallel Computing Curriculum Based On Beowulf Clustering Paper presented at 2006 Annual Conference & Exposition, Chicago, Illinois. 10.18260/1-2--998
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