Feeds

Student cluster warriors battle it out in Hamburg

Hell on the Elbe

Combat fraud and increase customer satisfaction

ISC2012 The International Supercomputing Conference (ISC), due to kick off in Hamburg in mid-June, is Europe’s leading supercomputing event. This show has almost everything you’d expect: keynote speeches by research computing stars; presentations, tutorials, demonstrations, and exhibits; and a huge variety of logo-imprinted tote bags. This year, they’re adding a Student Cluster Competition to their growing slate of offerings.

So what is a student cluster competition? Small teams (usually six or eight members) of university or even high school students put together their own clusters and compete to achieve the fastest/best results on a set of benchmarks and real-world HPC applications. The systems they build are subject to power constraints, usually somewhere around 25-30 amps, which is what keeps them from trying to Infiniband together anything that has a processor.

The hardware is provided by vendor sponsors, and the students work with the vendor and their coaches (usually professors) to design systems that will provide the absolute best performance on a range of workloads while keeping within the power constraint.

The U.S.-based SC conferences have been running student cluster competitions for several years now, and the range of gear that the students have brought to battle is surprising. We’ve seen exotic interconnects, GPU-heavy systems, and even immersive liquid cooling. I would expect to see the same thing at the European version of the contest.

(If you want to take a look, here are some articles covering the SC11 contest in Seattle.)

The ISC Student Cluster Competition, jointly sponsored by the HPC Advisory Council, will showcase six teams this year. The U.S. will be represented by teams from the University of Colorado and Stony Brook University (both multi-year veterans of the U.S. version of the competition.) Germany will have a team from the Karlsruhe Institute of Technology defending the pride of the ISC host nation.

There will be two teams from China participating in the contest, but we don’t know exactly who they are yet. Last year at SC11, the Chinese team from NUDT was very competitive, and lost to the overall winner Taiwan by the narrowest of margins. This must have stoked competitive fires in China, because there are now so many universities vying to compete in Hamburg that they’re going to have an intra-China playoff to determine which two teams will go.

These competitions are impressive in a number of ways. It’s great to see highly motivated students, many of whom are new to HPC, learning how to build, tune, and drive their clusters. They have to learn about not only the computer gear but also the specific applications and scientific disciplines that the apps support. These ‘kids’ are the future of HPC. It’s also fun to watch the personalities of the various teams emerge and to see how much they enjoy taking part in the competition.

We’ll be following this competition as it unfolds with articles on the applications, individual teams, and probably even another betting pool. ®

Combat fraud and increase customer satisfaction

More from The Register

next story
This time it's 'Personal': new Office 365 sub covers just two devices
Redmond also brings Office into Google's back yard
Kingston DataTraveler MicroDuo: Turn your phone into a 72GB beast
USB-usiness in the front, micro-USB party in the back
Dropbox defends fantastically badly timed Condoleezza Rice appointment
'Nothing is going to change with Dr. Rice's appointment,' file sharer promises
BOFH: Oh DO tell us what you think. *CLICK*
$%%&amp Oh dear, we've been cut *CLICK* Well hello *CLICK* You're breaking up...
AMD's 'Seattle' 64-bit ARM server chips now sampling, set to launch in late 2014
But they won't appear in SeaMicro Fabric Compute Systems anytime soon
Amazon reveals its Google-killing 'R3' server instances
A mega-memory instance that never forgets
Cisco reps flog Whiptail's Invicta arrays against EMC and Pure
Storage reseller report reveals who's selling what
Microsoft builds teleporter weapon to send VMware into Azure
Updated Virtual Machine Converter now converts Linux VMs too
prev story

Whitepapers

Securing web applications made simple and scalable
In this whitepaper learn how automated security testing can provide a simple and scalable way to protect your web applications.
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.
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.
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.