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2 Chinese teams. 1 unbeaten. Cluster wrestlers, be warned

Tsinghua and Huazong join the international high performance cluster match

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HPC blog China has sent two teams to the eight-university 2013 International Supercomputing Conference Student Cluster battle, but they had to earn their trip. As student cluster competition aficionados know, the Asia Student Supercomputer Challenge held their first regional cluster competition last April.

In addition to the possibility of winning Asian bragging rights and big money cash prizes, the two top Chinese teams were guaranteed a berth in the ISC’13 competition.

Tsinghua is confident and for good reason. They have yet to lose a student cluster competition, with a winning streak that extends almost 18 months.

They notched up their first victory in the inaugural Asian challenge in 2012, went on to ISC’12 and won there, and then took top honors in the 2013 edition of the Asian cluster-off.

In the video, we talk to the team and get a look at their Inspur cluster for the first time. Tsinghua has 8 nodes, 8 accelerators (NVIDIA K20s) and a whopping 1TB of memory – which more than doubles the average of 400GB used by other teams.

Huazong is a mystery to me. Sure, there was a language barrier between us when I tried to talk to them. But there was more here than simply not speaking a common language. It seemed to me that they just didn’t want to say much about what they were doing and how they were doing it.

Usually I can engage a team in conversation and ferret out some details, but these kids weren’t giving up anything. Of course, it could be that they regarded me as an annoying pest. However, pretty much everyone sees me as an annoying pest and they still talk to me, if only to get me to go away.

So Team Huazong remains a mystery wrapped in an enigma. Maybe they prefer to let their cluster do the talking? ®

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