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Will world universities step to cluster challenge?

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Sleepless in Seattle

And where the hell is the UK in all of this? It has supercomputers, it has university students, and a lot of rain and dank cold – so why not bring some of the first two to Seattle? (They won’t need to bring the rain and stuff; trust me, Seattle has plenty of that in November.)

In asking around, I heard that the University of Edinburgh has teamed up with Cray to found the “Exascale Technology Centre” that will be used to – not surprisingly – push supers to into exascale performance. On their webpage, the University Principal is quoted saying, “The University has been at the forefront of supercomputing research for 20 years…”

Why not prove it in Seattle? While Edinburgh’s motto proclaims that they’ve been influencing the world since 1583, some say that they’ve been coasting for the last 150 years or so. These are probably Cambridge and Imperial college types, both of whom seem to think they have some research heritage of their own.

Maybe it’s just me, but I don’t know if any university can credibly claim a research heritage until they’ve competed at a Student Cluster Competition. So I’m extending this invitation to our U.K. cousins: Bring your bagpipes and powdered wigs; bring your pop bands that no one has ever heard of; and bring your best to Seattle in November. We’ll supply the fish and chips, with extra vinegar.

There really aren’t any excuses for not participating. It’s good for the students and the schools. Plus the SCC committee can help arrange sponsorships, so money and gear shouldn’t be an issue. Sure, Seattle can be a dreary place in November. But they have the Space Needle, a lot of cool indie bands, and a truly astounding number of coffee shops. Plus it’s the birthplace of grunge.

What’s not to like? You can find all of the information and application materials here.

Happy clustering – see you in Seattle. ®

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