investigating the effects of HPC novice programmer variations on code performance

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2007-12-07

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In this thesis, we quantitatively study the effect of High Performance Computing (HPC) novice programmer variations in effort on the performance of the code produced. We look at effort variations from three different perspectives: total effort spent, daily distribution of effort, and the distribution of effort over coding and debugging activities. The relationships are studied in the context of classroom studies. A qualitative study of both effort and performance of students was necessary in order to distinguish regular patterns and define metrics suitable for the student environment and goals. Our results suggest that total effort does not correlate with performance, and that effort spent coding does not count more than effort spent debugging towards performance. In addition, we were successful in identifying a daily distribution pattern of effort which correlates with performance, suggesting that subjects who distribute their workload uniformly across days, pace themselves, and minimize interruptions achieve better performance.

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