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Cluster warriors: On your marks... 'Oh, no what was my password again?'

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SC12 Video It was an exciting start to the real-time, non-stop 48-hour cluster challenge, in which the teams of undergrads design and assemble a small cluster and race to demonstrate the greatest sustained performance across a series of applications.

Here’s a short video covering the beginning of the SC12 edition of the Student Cluster Competition. It begins with co-chairs Doug Smith and Dr Peter Molnar going over the logistics and rules (faculty advisors and coaches - say goodbye to your team!) with the huge crowd of student clusterers. Someone blows on what looks a lot like a ram's horn... and the competition begins.

We chat with Smith about what the students will be wrestling with when the competition kicks off. We also talk to Michael Brown, a scientist at Oak Ridge, who is the science lead of the cluster competition and the person who selected the various apps the students will be running.

The teams have to partner with vendors to design and build a cutting-edge cluster from commercially available components that does not exceed the 26 amp power limit.

The cluster competition takes a strange and disturbing turn at the 3:26 mark in the video. All of the teams are busy in their booths setting up their initial problem runs. All of the teams, that is, with the exception of Team Venus, the all-female team from The University of the Pacific. Their booth has only a single occupant – one who doesn’t even have a password that will allow her to download the data sets from the server. So where are the other team members? What happened to keep them away from their booth at such a critical time? The answers are in the video... ®

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