Students take aim at this year's cluster competition

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The organisers of Supercomputing 2010 (SC10) have announced details of this year's Student Cluster Competition, the high performance endurance competition billed as a highlight of the conference and exhibition. The real-time, 46-hour non-stop challenge will feature eight teams of undergraduate students building, tuning and racing HPC clusters of their own design on the SC exhibit floor. The teams will race against each other and the clock to run the greatest number of applications. An added catch is that teams will be required to run workloads on the same power needed to run only three coffee makers. Now in its fourth year, the Student Cluster Competition serves to showcase young computing talent and foster HPC education development.

'By showcasing some of the best young talent in HPC at SC10, the cluster challenge is a win for students, the institutions they represent, sponsors and cluster computing itself,' said Tiki Suarez-Brown, co-chair of this year’s competition. 'The competition also demonstrates that cluster computing is making HPC more accessible to smaller companies, businesses and educational institutions.'

With the guidance of a team supervisor and vendor sponsors, teams are currently perfecting designs and preparing to build cutting-edge clusters from commercially available components. After the starting gun at SC10, teams will compete to achieve the best HPC benchmark performance and maximum throughput of accurate applications runs, all while remaining at or below their 26 Amp current budget.'

Teams also compete to impress SC participants and judges with visualisations, presentations, and interviews. The team from Stony Brook University, NY, won the SC09 Student Cluster Competition, sponsored by AMD, Dell and Mellanox Technologies.

Teams and vendor partners competing in the 2010 SCC include:

·      National Tsing Hua University (Hsinchu, Taiwan) and Acer Inc. and Tatung Co.;

·      Nizhni Novgorod State University (Nizhni Novgorod, Russia) and IBM and Microsoft;

·      Florida A&M University and Atlantic Computer, LLC (HP Partner for Higher Education);

·      University of Colorado and Dell/AMD/Mellanox Technologies through the HPC Advisory Council;

·      The University of Texas at Austin and Dell;

·      Purdue University and HP and AMD;

·      Stony Brook University and Cray; and

·      Louisiana State University and HP and LATG, Mellanox, Portland Group and Adaptive Computing.