Amazon Web Services will provide access to GPU compute instances on Amazon EC2 to students taking Udacity's Intro to Parallel Programming course that starts on February 4, 2013.
Amazon Elastic Compute Cloud (Amazon EC2) is a web service that provides compute capacity in the cloud including some more advanced virtual machines that include GPU access.
Udacity's new third level course that sets out to teach parallel programming by coding image processing algorithms and uses high-end GPUs and nVidia's CUDA programming environment.
Although using EC2 is not required to complete this course, it's an attractive option for students who want to experiment further with parallel and distributed computing on CUDA GPUs and of course for anyone without access to a machine with a GPU.
Free AWS access is being offered to the first 5000 students who complete Unit 1 (including assignments). They will be provided with promotional credits for 15 hours of GPU instances. In addition the first 1000 students who complete all units and assignments for the entire course (seven units) will be awarded promotional credits for a further 15 hours of GPU instances which could be used to try out ideas that have been inspired by the course.