Place Your Bets: ISC’12 Student Cluster Competition

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Are you ready to place your bets for the ISC’12 Student Cluster Competition? Our intrepid reporter, Dan Olds has posted a series of profiles on each of the teams.

Team Germany story

  • Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT) in Karlsruhe, Germany is the lone European entry in the ISC’12 Student Cluster Competition. Founded in 1825, it’s one of Germany’s leading science, engineering, and technical universities. Mathematics and natural sciences, along with engineering sciences, are the main focus of 74% of their 22,552 student population.”


American Teams

  • The University of Colorado team has more institutional experience in the student clustering game than all of the other competitors combined. They’ve competed in all five of the SC student cluster challenges… Last year in Seattle, they brought more memory per node (126GB vs. 64GB) and a huge number of AMD Interlagos cores…”
  • Stony Brook University has been to the big cluster dance before. They were there for the first SC competition way back in ’07, and won the overall crown at SC09 in Portland. They returned to New Orleans in 2010 to defend their title with a Cray-based design that was one of the first systems to utilize GPUs.”


Chinese Teams

  • Tsinghua University. We don’t have a lot of first-hand knowledge about TU. It’s based in Beijing… They’re perennially ranked as one of the top three science and technology universities in China – sort of like MIT in the U.S.”
  • The National University of Defense Technology (NUDT)… rocketed onto the world stage when they unveiled Tianhe-1A, the world’s fastest supercomputer, in 2010. This 2.56 Petaflop super was also the largest hybrid system in the world, using 14,336 Xeon processors combined with 7,168 NVIDIA M2050 Tesla GPUs. NUDT… participated in the SC11 Student Cluster Competition in Seattle last fall. They finished just barely behind Team Taiwan (another team that optimized their codes for GPUs), but came within an eyelash of winning it all.”

We know our favorites to win, but we’ll save that for when the teams face off in Hamburg starting on June 18.


  1. The individuals and their teams are all winners. It takes a significant effort to get to the show. Each team member has had to consume a huge amount of HPC knowledge in a short period of time. Getting through that, being selected for the competition and making it to the show is a significant milestone – I applaud each of them for this.

    Note this even has different (some might say more humane) rules than the SC counterpart. I will be eagerly watching (and there in person recruiting).

    Good luck to all the teams!