Feeds

BIG IRON cluster warriors put pedal to HOT METAL

We node you like those accelerators

Remote control for virtualized desktops

HPC blog We saw an interesting assortment of gear from the teams competing in the SC13 Standard (Big Iron) Track of the Student Cluster Competition.

As you can see on the handy table below, the teams had a lot in common on the surface. They all ran some variety of Intel Xeon as their base CPU, most were using Mellanox Infiniband interconnects, and every team had some sort of accelerator or co-processor.

But there are plenty of differences as well. The Australian iVEC and the Chinese NUDT teams, for example, took a 'more nodes is more better' approach, sporting eight nodes each. The Aussies also went for an interesting node strategy, with all 8 of their accelerators located on only two nodes.

You'll also notice that almost all of the teams went in for accelerators in a big way, festooning their clusters with either 8 NVIDIA Keplers or 8 Intel Phi co-processors. Team Longhorn (Texas) took what they call a more balanced approach with only four GPU accelerators.

Using this many accelerators can be somewhat risky. While they can add a whole lot more processing power, they can only do so on applications that are optimised to use them efficiently.

The problem for competitors is that SCC rules do not allow teams to power down or physically remove any component after the start of the bout. So if you have an app (or apps) that don't efficiently use your accelerators, you can't do much beyond idling them to reduce the drain on your power. And even at idle, having a bunch of these things can really take a chunk out of your 26 amp/115 volt power allowance.

In upcoming stories and video blogs, we'll take a closer look at each team, their gear, and their rationale for making the decisions they made. We'll also give you an idea of how the competition proceeded day by day and, of course, cover the first Pro-Am Celebrity Cluster Challenge. (Which sucked up a huge amount of my time, since I was the organiser and ultimate arbiter of the Pro-Am. It was fun, but fraught with challenges. Stay tuned for more.) ®

Intelligent flash storage arrays

More from The Register

next story
Azure TITSUP caused by INFINITE LOOP
Fat fingered geo-block kept Aussies in the dark
NASA launches new climate model at SC14
75 days of supercomputing later ...
Yahoo! blames! MONSTER! email! OUTAGE! on! CUT! CABLE! bungle!
Weekend woe for BT as telco struggles to restore service
You think the CLOUD's insecure? It's BETTER than UK.GOV's DATA CENTRES
We don't even know where some of them ARE – Maude
Cloud unicorns are extinct so DiData cloud mess was YOUR fault
Applications need to be built to handle TITSUP incidents
BOFH: WHERE did this 'fax-enabled' printer UPGRADE come from?
Don't worry about that cable, it's part of the config
Stop the IoT revolution! We need to figure out packet sizes first
Researchers test 802.15.4 and find we know nuh-think! about large scale sensor network ops
DEATH by COMMENTS: WordPress XSS vuln is BIGGEST for YEARS
Trio of XSS turns attackers into admins
prev story

Whitepapers

Why and how to choose the right cloud vendor
The benefits of cloud-based storage in your processes. Eliminate onsite, disk-based backup and archiving in favor of cloud-based data protection.
Getting started with customer-focused identity management
Learn why identity is a fundamental requirement to digital growth, and how without it there is no way to identify and engage customers in a meaningful way.
Go beyond APM with real-time IT operations analytics
How IT operations teams can harness the wealth of wire data already flowing through their environment for real-time operational intelligence.
Why CIOs should rethink endpoint data protection in the age of mobility
Assessing trends in data protection, specifically with respect to mobile devices, BYOD, and remote employees.
Reg Reader Research: SaaS based Email and Office Productivity Tools
Read this Reg reader report which provides advice and guidance for SMBs towards the use of SaaS based email and Office productivity tools.