GCS Student Team preps for SC19 Student Cluster Competition

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The students of Friedrich-Alexander-Universität Erlangen-Nürnberg comprising team deFAUlt in the Student Cluster Competition of SC19. Left to right: David Sauerwein, Florian Klöppner, Sebastian Bönning, Dirk Plachta, Johannes Lebender and Eva Dengler. © FAU

The Gauss Centre for Supercomputing (GCS) will once again sponsor some of Germany’s brightest collegiate minds at the SC19 Student Cluster Competition. Team “deFAUlt” is one of four European teams entering the student competition. In total, 16 teams qualified to participate in this year’s student challenge, with six other teams representing hosting country USA, five teams coming from China and one Singaporean team rounding out the group of competitors.

Over the past years, FAU has counted itself among the small, steady circle of institutions consistently delivering strong showings at international SCC events. FAU’s endeavours to grow students’ interest in the field of high-performance computing (HPC) is proactively supported through FAU’s chair of computer architecture, which offers special hands-on and lecture series tailored to prepare a team for the SCC.

Students enrolled in this course receive a credit for their respective degree course, and the prospect of eventually being able to prove one’s HPC knowledge in a friendly yet serious international competition adds to the attraction of our lecture series,” explains Dr. Johannes Hofmann, a researcher at FAU’s chair of computer architecture and deFAUlt’s team advisor. “Additionally, most students see it as a unique opportunity to participate in a renowned HPC event that is attended by some of the brightest minds in the HPC community.”

Integrated within the HPC community’s biggest gathering, the Supercomputing conference, the SCC calls on participants to demonstrate the breadth of skills, technologies, and scientific understanding it takes to build, maintain and utilize supercomputers. In a real-time, non-stop, 48- hour challenge, student teams assemble small compute clusters on the exhibition floor and race to complete real-world workloads across a series of applications in an effort to impress HPC- expert judges from academia and industry.

As Germany’s national supercomputing institution, GCS is committed to encourage a wide variety of activities that help promote up and coming experts in the field of HPC. “There is no question that such contests can have a significant impact on the further career paths of young HPC talent,” explains Dr. Claus Axel Müller, Managing Director of GCS, which is supporting team deFAUlt by co-financing its travel to the event. “We don’t want students’ motivation get hindered by expenses related to international travel, therefore we are happy to help remove this obstacle. Participating in this international challenge will for sure be an invaluable experience for the students, and we wish them lots of success and—independent of the outcome—tons of fun.”

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