Potential Influence of Prior Experience in an Undergraduate-Graduate Level HPC Course

A course on high performance computing (HPC) at Case Western Reserve University included students with a range of technical and academic experience. We consider these experiential differences with regard to student performance and perceptions. The course relied heavily on C programming and multithreading, but one third of the students had no prior experience with these techniques. Academic experience also varied, as the class included 3rd and 4th year undergraduates, master's students, PhD students, and a non- degree student. Results indicate that student performance did not depend on technical experience. However, average overall performance was slightly higher for graduate students. Additionally, we report on students' perceptions of the course and the assigned work.