The University of Winnipeg



Summer computing club is the new cool

There is buzz on campus that surrounds a group of students who are spending their summer holidays ‘geeking’ out and learning code with some high-performance computers at the inaugural UWinnipeg Summer GPU Computing Club. Learning how to create computer applications early will position students for success in any career, and is becoming increasingly important for staying competitive. The club is part of the overall initiative at UWinnipeg to promote access in training and research using this powerful new computing architecture.

UWinnipeg was the first institution in Western Canada to be selected as GPU Education Center, and is one of only six institutions across Canada to be awarded this designation. GPUs (graphics processing units) have become ubiquitous in current computing devices due to consumer desire for rich computer graphics. They are also extremely useful for solving equations that require a large number of independent calculations.

“GPUs have revolutionized high performance computing in computationally complex areas of research and commerce,” said Dr. Christopher Henry, UWinnipeg Associate Professor in Applied Computer Science. “General purpose computing using GPUs is the new vital skill set for both academia and industry.”

The club consists of a range of participants including high school students (many through the SHAD program), undergraduate research assistants, graduate students, research associates and UWinnipeg faculty.

Florencia Chomski, ©UWinnipeg

Florencia Chomski, ©UWinnipeg

“During the time I’ve been here so far, I’ve learned more than I thought I could in a matter of two short weeks,” said Florencia Chomski, a Grade 12 student from Fort Richmond Collegiate. “In these two weeks I’ve learned to code in Python and gained a deeper understanding of computer systems. … The professors I’ve been working with are supportive and more than happy to help push your boundaries and challenge yourself. I plan on studying computer science at university and this internship allows me to grow my skills.”

This diverse group is provided a guided experience to learn how to harness the massive computing power offered by GPUs for their respective research problems including using Python, a popular modern computing language that is generally considered to be quite powerful and fairly easy to use.

“GPUs have democratized supercomputing, and it is important for Manitobans to catch this high-performance-computing tidal wave,” said Dr. Christopher Bidinosti, UWinnipeg Physics Professor.

About SHAD

SHAD is a registered Canadian charity that empowers exceptional high school students – at a pivotal point in their education – to recognize their own capabilities and envision their extraordinary potential as tomorrow’s leaders and change makers.

About UWinnipeg’s GPU Education Center

UWinnipeg was designated as an NVIDIA® GPU Education Centre in 2014. This honour demonstrates that The University of Winnipeg has established itself as a state-of-the-art institution for training highly qualified people in parallel computing on NVIDIA graphics processing units (GPUs). 

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