Dan Olds is the owner and founder of Gabriel Consulting Group, a technology analysis and consulting firm based in Beaverton, Oregon. He pays particularly close attention to how technology continues to fundamentally transform both business and science.
Exit sign. Pic:  Lukas Kästner

It's all fun and games until someone loses a rack

HPC Blog This year’s ISC’16 Student Cluster Competition boasts the most diverse set of hardware in the near 10-year history of student cluster competitions. Student teams are running three different system architectures (x86, ARM, and Power) in both traditional and hybrid (hardware accelerated) forms. The configurations of these …
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Nice cluster, kid. But can these supercomputing students actually predict the weather?

HPC blog Your correspondent wrote this blog during the action at the ISC’16 Student Cluster Competition arena, located on the trade show floor of the ISC’16 conference. So far, everything is going well for the teams – everyone has their hardware and finished their basic set-up over the weekend. Yesterday was when the rubber met the …
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Forget your stupid campus party. I'm going to Frankfurt to do some HPC

HPC Blog The world's attention will be focused on Frankfurt, Germany next week for the kick-off of the fifth annual ISC'16 Student Cluster Competition. Twelve teams of university undergraduates will travel from far and wide to prove their HPC and clustering prowess in a competition that will demand everything they have – and more. …

Home team wins Asia student cluster competition

HPC Blog For the first time in student cluster competition history, a hometown team has won the Overall Championship award. The team, from China’s Huazhong University of Science and Technology, captured the crown at the recently concluded Asia Supercomputer Community 2016 Student Cluster Competition. This win earns them a berth in the …
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Old fashioned engineering: HPC cluster kids would like to thank their fans. No really

HPC Blog Excitement reigned at the Asia Student Supercomputer Challenge Cluster Competition as Zhejiang University set a new student LINPACK record with 12.03 Tflop/s. With this result, they eclipsed the previous record of 10.78 Tflop/s set by Jamia Millia Islamia University (JMI) at last year’s ISC15 competition. Here's a historical …
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Sweaty students push hot HPC clusters through benchmark tests

HPC Blog The first task that students have to perform at the ASC16 Student Cluster Competition is to run the venerable HPL and newish High Performance Conjugate Gradients (HPCG) benchmarks. High performance Linpack (HPL), also known as LINPACK, is a routine that measures floating point performance and is the basis for the Top500 list. …
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Some HPC kids just can't help piling on the weight

HPC Blog We've saved the biggest for last in our round-up of the ASC16 Student Cluster Competition competitors. All of the teams below are driving clusters with more than nine nodes, most with several GPU accelerators. They're definitely power hungry beasts, which will require the teams to apply heavy throttling in order to stay under …
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Student cluster warriors build out 'roomy sedan' clusters

HPC Blog Four teams in the ASC16 Asian Student Cluster Competition decided to stake out the middle ground in the competition with clusters that aren't too small and aren't too big. Is their "just right" approach going to get them into the winners' circle at ASC16? Let's meet the teams and see what they're packing... Dalian University …
The Incredible Shrinking Man

HPC kids find bite-sized clusters are just as chewy

HPC blog Although the teams in the ASC16 Asian Student Cluster Competition are all using the same Inspur-provided gear, there's a LOT of variety in what they built. Cluster sizes in this competition range from three to twelve nodes, with anywhere from zero to eight accelerators. Let's meet the teams who believe that smaller is better …
Halo Wars

Sweaty students prep their hot HPC clusters for Wuhun tussle

HPC blog The Asian Student Supercomputer Competition (ASC) is the closest thing to true stock car racing that you’ll find on the Student Cluster Competition international circuit. At the ASC, you drive nodes that are supplied by major sponsor Inspur, with only limited configurability. Each of the teams below are using nearly identical …

175 teams, 4 continents, $36,000: It's the Amazing HPC Cluster Race

HPC Blog The largest student cluster competition in the known world kicked off last Monday in Wuhan, China. Sixteen teams representing universities from China, South America, the US, and Europe are participating in the fifth annual Asian Student Supercomputer Challenge. The competition just gets bigger and bigger. This year, it started …
Eni S.p.A Oil and Gas Supercomputer in Italy

How much faster is a quantum computer than your laptop?

HPC blog I jumped at the chance to interview supercomputing pioneer Bo Ewald and quantum computing whiz kid Murray Thom a few months ago. Although it's been in my “vault of lost content” for a while, the video serves as a good primer for quantum computing and its promise. It turns out that there are three broad categories of problem …

Hey kids – want to be an HPC bigshot? Don't have a secret exascale supercomputer?

HPC blog Do you want to secure a place in HPC (high performance computing) history? One route would be to single-handedly design and implement an exascale supercomputer, which most would categorize as "hard". However, an easier route is to participate in the various Student Cluster Competitions (SCCs) that take place around the world. …
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HPC cluster-wrestling challenge: Come on students, light my PyFR

Reconfigure This! Here’s some more content from last summer’s blockbuster International Super computing Conference (ISC) 2015 student cluster competition, which has the youngsters battling to build a small cluster of their own design on the exhibit floor and race to demonstrate the greatest performance across a series of benchmarks and …
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Undergrad cluster wrangling warriors: Vid chats with the teams

HPC Blog Rounding out the field for the ISC 2015 Student Cluster Competition, below is an introduction to the two teams we haven't profiled yet. For previous Reg coverage, refer to this, this, and this. Team Purdue/EAFIT: 'Solid team, smooth sailing' yeah, we've heard that before A quick interview with team Purdue/EAFIT reveals, well …

ISC ’15 Student Cluster Comp: Asian kids gear up to grab the crown

HPC blog Four teams from Asian universities entered the ISC’15 Student Cluster Competition arena in a bid to do glorious cluster combat and chisel their names into HPC history. Who are these brave students? Where do they come from? What do they want? Team India: Liquid cooled screamer The kids from Jamia Millia Islama brought some …

ISC ’15 Student Cluster Competition: Euro kids answered the calls to arms

HPC Blog Eight countries from five continents sent eleven university student teams to do battle at the recently concluded ISC’15 Student Cluster Competition. If you multiply 8 x 5 x 11, you get 440; a number that has no relevance to this article. Europe was ably represented by four teams. Let’s have a video introduction to each of them …

Sneaky students parade their bulging racks for Big Iron cluster daddies

HPC blog This year’s crop of student clusterers brought perhaps the most diverse set of equipment ever to grace a cluster competition in the modern era. We have servers with high node counts, low node counts, some with only CPUs, some with more GPUs than CPUs, and even a cluster that uses ARM CPUs. The chart above supplies all the …
A 1U rack server from Quanta using the Roadrunner Opteron motherboard

Oi, supercomputer folk. This is where the brains of the future come from

HPC blog Purdue University has participated in more Student Cluster Competitions than any other institutions - nine of 'em in less than 10 years. They must be getting something out of it, right? To answer that question, plus many others, we talked to Dr Gerry McCartney, who is the VP of IT at Purdue. He is also a professor of IT, along …

Dive deep into our liquid cooling chat. Just the thing for sticky summers

HPC blog + vid I recently had a conversation with Pat McGinn, product manager at Cool IT. Fortunately I recorded our chat, then matched it up with some slides to package it into a webcast. Cool IT webcast mixdown In the video, Pat and I talk about the strengths and weaknesses of four types of liquid cooling. We also talk benefits, including …
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ISC 2015 offers up an architectural clash, so let battle commence

HPC Blog The stage is set for an unprecedented architectural melee at the upcoming ISC 2015 Student Cluster Competition, in Frankfurt. For the first time, a student team will be bringing an ARM-based cluster to what has previously been an all-x86 competition. (For the rare individual who doesn’t know about student cluster competitions …
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Clever cluster-wrangling proto-boffins told to set their LAMMPS on PyFR

HPC Blog As the kickoff for the ISC’15 student cluster-building competition approaches, it’s a good time to take a look at what the undergrads will actually be doing. But first, let’s talk a little bit about the format of this specific competition, in which students are challenged to build and benchmark HPC systems from scratch against …

Lugging an HPC cluster to the plane as carry-on luggage? DON'T

HPC Blog In our most recent article, we took a look at the US-based SC14 Student Cluster Competition university teams who are intent on keeping the SC crown firmly in the good ol' US of A. As usual, the SC competition attracted a wide variety of student teams from around the world. At SC14, we interviewed almost all of them to give you …

Pimp my cluster: GPUs, liquid nitrogen and AAAAAH! ..that new compiler smell

HPC Blog In this article, we're going to take a closer look at the teams that competed in the historic SC14 Student Cluster Competition. As usual, it's a wide mix of returning champions, veteran teams pushing to join the elite, and completely new teams who are trying to figure out what they hell they're doing. (For some background, click …
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STUDENT RACK WARS: Science and HPC – all the kids are doing it these days

HPC blog It’s well past the time to discuss and analyse what happened at the exciting seventh annual Student Cluster Competition, which took place at SC14 in New Orleans late last year. Just after SC14 closed, I took a long trip to South Africa to cover its CHPC cluster competition – the intra-country bout that has spawned its ISC’13 and …