Science Success Story

XSEDE Adds New HPC Badges

XSEDE expands its offering of competency-based micro-certification for the HPC community.

What are badges? Badges are a variation on the digital micro-certification credentialing system. Micro-certification is now a common way of quickly demonstrating one's competency in a particular area.  Badges provide a way of incentivizing training events and online courses by adding a ‘gamification' component to post-event assessments. Thousands of lessons and full-blown courses have been created which are accompanied by a badge or micro-certification.

Since 2016, badges have been offered in several areas considered to be fundamentally important to high-performance computing (HPC) and data science. Still, many in the XSEDE community are unaware of their availability. With the addition of several new badges, we now offer an even larger selection of disciplines to choose from.

XSEDE Badges are issued from the XSEDE HPC-Training Portal which uses the Moodle learning management system to deliver the badges and accompanying lesson content. In the past few months we have added six new badges to our existing set of nine, including a Python for Data Science Beginner and Intermediate Badge, an OpenMP Intermediate Badge, an MPI Intermediate Badge, a Lustre I/O Badge, and a Matlab for HPC Badge, and an Introduction to Performance Tools Badge. The XSEDE HPC Training Portal also offers self-paced tutorials accompanying several of the badges, including Matlab for XSEDE Systems, Introduction to Performance Tools, and The Lustre File System.

Each badge focuses on a single competency or a small subset of competencies which are highly valued within the HPC community based on user feedback. Three types of badges may be offered for a particular competency - beginner, intermediate, and advanced. The beginner-level badge assessment typically consists of a set of questions in a conventional quiz format requiring a score of 80% or higher. The intermediate- and advanced-level badges require demonstration of practical understanding by assessing performance on solving real-world problems and are assessed using  a detailed rubric.

The XSEDE HPC Training Moodle uses the Mozilla Open Badges specification. Moodle is now connected to the  Badgr backpack, an online service which provides an external backpack where badge earners can upload their Moodle badges to display with badges they have earned from other sites.  Badge earners can also download badges from Badgr to display on their Moodle profile. Badgr is connected to other badge issuing sites, not just Moodle. Badgr is gaining in popularity and is now built into Microsoft Teams.

The HPC Training Portal can be accessed at: https://www.hpc-training.org/xsede/moodle/

You can login using Single-Sign-On with your XSEDE User Portal (XUP) account, or you can create an account if you do not have an XUP account.

XSEDE now offers 15 different badges. Below is a list of badges which are currently available:

  • OpenACC Beginner Badge
  • OpenACC Intermediate Badge
  • OpenACC Advanced Badge
  • Data Visualization Beginner Badge
  • Data Visualization Intermediate Badge
  • Big Data Beginner Badge
  • Big Data Intermediate Badge
  • OpenMP Beginner Badge
  • OpenMP Intermediate Badge
  • MPI -- Beginner Badge
  • MPI -- Intermediated Badge
  • Python for Data Science Beginner Badge
  • Python for Data Science Intermediate Badge
  • Matlab for HPC Badge
  • Lustre File I/O Badge

At a Glance:

  • XSEDE badges provide digital credentials and verification of competency in certain areas, allowing researchers to establish and expand their skill sets in all areas of HPC.
  • Over the past year, XSEDE has added six new badges focused on everything from Python to Matlab.
  • Badges are obtained by passing a quiz or demonstrating practical skills on one of 15 different topics.