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High-tech Grads

Degree ceremony 26 February for masters in high performance computing

(from left) Krister Jazz Urog, Saeid Aliei and Nesrine Yousfi will receive the MHPC degree thanks to support from ICTP
(from left) Krister Jazz Urog, Saeid Aliei and Nesrine Yousfi will receive the MHPC degree thanks to support from ICTP


Three students from Algeria, Iran and the Philippines are the latest ICTP-supported scholars to be graduating from the Centre's Master's in High Performance Computing programme, run jointly with the International School for Advanced Studies (SISSA).

A virtual ceremony to honour the graduates, including a keynote lecture by SISSA Professor Guido Sanguinetti, will be held Friday 26 February from 15:00 to 17:00. The event is free and open to the public, but the number of participants is limited. To receive the link to attend, please send an email to

The ICTP students--Saeid Aliei from Iran, Krister Jazz Urog from the Philippines and Nesrine Yousfi from Algeria--successfully completed the two-year programme that combines lectures with hands-on and applied projects to prepare future HPC specialists for academia and industry.

MHPC coursework is driven by challenging scientific and technical problems that require an HPC approach. Lectures are provided by ICTP and SISSA staff and highly recognized international experts. Both institutes have long histories and experience in developing and applying scientific and research computation models. Each year, ICTP offers scholarships for applicants from less-advantaged countries. Thanks to this support, 17 students from 13 countries have completed the MHPC programme since its inception in 2014.

"The MHPC programme is one of the best programs available to appreciate how modern-day science is pursued," says Saeid Aliei, who has an academic background in astronomy. "To be an effective researcher in modern-day science requires a lot of computational knowledge of HPC systems, with a skill set in high-performance programming," he explains. Aliei plans to pursue a research career in physics. "With the skillset provided by the MHPC programme, I can now pursue a more robust, modern research in physics that requires a lot of computational knowledge," he says.

Aliei's classmate, Krister Jazz Urog, was doing research in complex systems before enrolling in the MHPC programme. "I became very interested in code optimization and scientific software development. I also wanted to apply these skills to the bioinformatics field, where HPC is really needed." Uroq wants to work for a bioinformatics research institute on a project that will be significant to the medical field. "I plan to do a PhD in a bioinformatics related field." Urog adds that he was recently hired as a research software engineer for Cyverse UK at the Earlham Institute in Norwich. He hopes to find a PhD project that suits his interest, within the same institute.

Both students appreciated the international, multidisciplinary flavour of the programme: students typically come from all over the world. "One of the best parts of the programme in my mind is that you get to know colleagues from diverse backgrounds, yet they merge in one common goal for doing high-performance computing in their respective field," says Aliei. Urog agrees. "The skills that I have acquired would be nothing without all the people involved, from the accomplished MHPC staff and my thesis supervisor to, of course, my awesome batchmates."

Nesrine Yousfi will use her new MHPC degree to complement her soon-to-be-completed PhD in mathematics. "The goal was to broaden my professional horizon to be able to go toward my dream job," she says. Yousfi, whose MHPC project involved the detection of recurring transactions in bank databases, hopes to land a job in industry related to her research. "I feel that I will flourish in an area where I can exercise what I learned together with a mathematical spirit of exploration and creativity," she explains. Yousfi enjoyed the breadth of different topics covered in the MHPC programme, finding it exciting and challenging but also useful. "Also, meeting all those experts in different domains was an unforgettable experience," she adds.

--Mary Ann Williams