Feeds

BIG IRON cluster warriors put pedal to HOT METAL

We node you like those accelerators

Beginner's guide to SSL certificates

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.) ®

Security for virtualized datacentres

More from The Register

next story
It's Big, it's Blue... it's simply FABLESS! IBM's chip-free future
Or why the reversal of globalisation ain't gonna 'appen
'Hmm, why CAN'T I run a water pipe through that rack of media servers?'
Leaving Las Vegas for Armenia kludging and Dubai dune bashing
Bitcasa bins $10-a-month Infinite storage offer
Firm cites 'low demand' plus 'abusers'
Facebook slurps 'paste sites' for STOLEN passwords, sprinkles on hash and salt
Zuck's ad empire DOESN'T see details in plain text. Phew!
CAGE MATCH: Microsoft, Dell open co-located bit barns in Oz
Whole new species of XaaS spawning in the antipodes
Microsoft and Dell’s cloud in a box: Instant Azure for the data centre
A less painful way to run Microsoft’s private cloud
prev story

Whitepapers

Choosing cloud Backup services
Demystify how you can address your data protection needs in your small- to medium-sized business and select the best online backup service to meet your needs.
Forging a new future with identity relationship management
Learn about ForgeRock's next generation IRM platform and how it is designed to empower CEOS's and enterprises to engage with consumers.
Security for virtualized datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.
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.
Storage capacity and performance optimization at Mizuno USA
Mizuno USA turn to Tegile storage technology to solve both their SAN and backup issues.