Feeds

HPC data center glory? It's in the game

Everything but the homicidal IT admin

  • alert
  • submit to reddit

Top three mobile application threats

Most people's visions of data center domination need to be put on hold in today's floundering economy, but at least now there's a video game to keep the dream alive.

To build excitement for its participation in this year's Supercomputer conference, Purdue University in Indiana has made an online game that finally offers a taste of stacking big silicon.

Rack-A-Node challenges players to build a cluster supercomputer using various computer types to process science experiments. If the jobs are successful, players receive additional funding to build an even bigger system.

"Like the game 'rock, paper, scissors,' certain tools perform better against certain challenges," said Kyle Bowen, infomatics manager for Information Technology at Purdue. "In Rack-A-Nodeƒr, the player has to optimize the supercomputer for the type of science being performed."

For example, chemistry jobs require more memory, whereas climate-modeling needs faster network communication. Other tasks dropped into the racks include the usual gang of HPC workloads like life sciences, pharmacy, physics, animation-rendering, and engineering.

The game was built to highlight team Purdue at the SC08 Cluster Challenge, where students compete in building effective HPC clusters on the exhibit floor.

Image courtesy Purdue

Bowen told El Reg the Purdue group was inspired by playing various tower defense games and noticed a similarity between the genre and and the cluster challenge.

"We started developing the idea a week after last year's conference," he said.

A team of six at Purdue were recruited to build the game, lead by Jasen Fish (application programming), Michele Rund (user interface design), and Preston Smith, who heads the SC08 cluster team.

"What we looked to do with the game is capture the fundamental decisions that the cluster teams face during competition," Bowen said. "We looked at what made one cluster more or less competitive. Each type of job performs better or worse based on how the cluster was designed. We took these elements and built them into the game — allowing players to upgrade their processors, memory, networking, and compilers. Each choice has an impact on cost, power consumption and performance."

Test your mettle metal at virtual high performance computing right here. ®

Combat fraud and increase customer satisfaction

More from The Register

next story
Spanish village called 'Kill the Jews' mulls rebranding exercise
Not exactly attractive to the Israeli tourist demographic
Oz bank in comedy Heartbleed blog FAIL
Bank: 'We are now safely patched.' Customers: 'You were using OpenSSL?'
Happy 40th Playmobil: Reg looks back at small, rude world of our favourite tiny toys
Little men straddle LOHAN, attend tiny G20 Summit... ah, sweet memories...
Forget the beach 'n' boardwalk, check out the Santa Cruz STEVE JOBS FOUNTAIN
Reg reader snaps shot of touching tribute to Apple icon
Lego is the TOOL OF SATAN, thunders Polish priest
New minifigs like Monster Fighters are turning kids to the dark side
Dark SITH LORD 'Darth Vader' joins battle to rule, er, Ukraine
Only I can 'make an empire out of a republic' intones presidential candidate
Chinese company counters pollution by importing fresh air
Citizens line up for bags of that sweet, sweet mountain air
Google asks April Fools: Want a job? Be our 'Pokemon Master'
Mountain View is prankin' like it's 1999...
prev story

Whitepapers

SANS - Survey on application security programs
In this whitepaper learn about the state of application security programs and practices of 488 surveyed respondents, and discover how mature and effective these programs are.
Combat fraud and increase customer satisfaction
Based on their experience using HP ArcSight Enterprise Security Manager for IT security operations, Finansbank moved to HP ArcSight ESM for fraud management.
The benefits of software based PBX
Why you should break free from your proprietary PBX and how to leverage your existing server hardware.
Top three mobile application threats
Learn about three of the top mobile application security threats facing businesses today and recommendations on how to mitigate the risk.
3 Big data security analytics techniques
Applying these Big Data security analytics techniques can help you make your business safer by detecting attacks early, before significant damage is done.