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Tianhe-1A schoolkids bring their best game, GPUs to cluster punchup

Chinese teams quietly confident

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SC12 Video: Here’s a look at one of the two Chinese entries into the SC12 Student Cluster Competition. These kids are from the University of Science and Technology and are not only battling their cluster competitors, but are also fighting jet-lag, 8.5 inches (21cm) of snow, and my inability to speak slowly/clearly enough to be understood without an interpreter.

The student spokesman bravely soldiers through my ham-handed interview (and my hands were actually holding ham for some strange reason, which threw both of us off stride a bit).

The other China entry into SCC’12 is from their National University of Defense Technology. This is an experienced team, coming off a LINPACK win at the European ISC’12 and a near victory at SC11 in Seattle. While there’s an obvious language barrier, it’s clear to me that this is a confident team.

They’ve brought their usual mix of Intel Xeon and Tesla GPUs, a configuration that’s served them well over the past year. One thing that isn’t obvious in the video is how damned cold it was in the hall. This was one of the first that I shot and, with all of the loading doors open, the temperature in the hall seemed to be about equal to the 20°F (-6°C) outside temp. NUDT knows its GPUs. This team's school is the host institution for China’s Tianhe-1A, the 2.56 Petaflop GPU-heavy system that ruled the supercomputing world in 2010.

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

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