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Boiler Makers swing hammer at SC12, Team Taiwan tries for a three-peat

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SC12 Video Team Taiwan (from Taiwan’s National Tsing Hua University) has a chance to become a three time Overall Award winner at the SC12 Student Cluster Competition here in Salt Lake City. They notched their first win at SC10 in New Orleans, repeated the feat the next year in Seattle, and are now looking for the hat trick in Salt Lake. But, if you talk to them, you’ll get the impression that they believe they’ll be happy just to get the system booted and to complete all of the tasks.

This is a modest and unassuming team. Every year I’ve talked to them, they’ve always underplayed their capabilities but over delivered on results. They’re a confident bunch and obviously know their way around both Xeons and GPUs. They were mystified about my reference to tattoos, which threw me a bit. In New Orleans, the team was giving away these ‘temporary’ tattoos with their school seal. They put one on my hand during the competition and it took three weeks of hard scrubbing to get it off. The bright side was that over those three weeks, people gave me a wider berth than usual, obviously thinking that my hand tat was a sign of my affiliation with some exotic gang.

Purdue, meanwhile, has been to more SC Student Cluster Competitions (SCC) than any other team. They were there at the beginning and will, presumably, be at SCC events far into the future ... including those that occur after genetically modified simians take over a la Planet of the Apes.

The teams from Purdue are among the most fundamentally sound teams in every competition. They know their hardware, know the applications, and are more adept at shifting on the fly to handle unanticipated problems or challenges. They also have the ability to explain all of the above and have often helped answer my obtuse questions. They’re also a fun team to talk to in general.

As you’ll see in the video, they a very engaging group and have good chemistry. Just before I started rolling the video, one of the team members returned to the booth with a big score – he managed to snag a trial copy of SLES. On a hardware note: Purdue has an extra trick up their sleeves this year – they’re running a 1TB Fusion IO PCI SSD drive, a first for any SCC team. ®

You can find more coverage of the student cluster competition as well as SC12 supercomputer news right here

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