Team RACKLette from ETH Zurich steps up at the SC19 Student Cluster Competition

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Thor Goebel and Emir Isman from Team RACKlette

In this video from SC19, Thor Goebel and Emir Isman from ETH Zurich Team RACKLette describe their system configuration in the Student Cluster Competition. The competition is a microcosm of a modern HPC center that teaches and inspires students to pursue careers in the field. It demonstrates the breadth of skills, technologies and science that it takes to build, maintain and utilize supercomputers. In this real-time, non-stop, 48-hour challenge, teams of undergraduate and/or high school students assemble small clusters on the exhibit floor, and race to complete real-world workloads across a series of applications and impress HPC-industry judges.

We are a team of motivated students from ETH Zürich in Switzerland with various fields of interests around HPC. Together we work on optimizing and tuning computations on all the different levels down from the physical hardware up to algorithmic performance optimizations wherever possible. Our team is composed out of a rich and diverse mix of interests in parallel programming, system administration and system’s programming, algorithms and complexity analysis as well as processor and memory architecture. Our team is supervised by Prof. Torsten Hoefler. He made the project possible in the first place and supports us with his profound knowledge and resources in the field of HPC.”

Team RACKlette together with advisors Torsten Hoefler and Hussein Harake

Thor Goebel offered these tips for future teams:

  • Be ready to mingle with the other teams. Everyone is really nice and very outgoing, and chatting about how you optimise applications or what results you got for that input file is completely normal and okay. It great to see more people doing HPC!
  • Expect to be interviewed. Not only by the judges, but also by the conference organisers, your sponsors and Dan Olds. Dan publishes articles about the Student Cluster Competitions (e.g. on HPCwire) and is an incredibly kind, chatty though eloquent and entertaining character. You will notice when you see him! He interviews all teams every year. Because he has been at the cluster competitions since the beginning he knows them inside out.
  • At SC (and maybe at ISC in the future?) there is a power outage, planned by the committee. It is meant to test your ability to recover from such an event. This year at SC19 they took everyone by surprise by pulling the power not only once but twice!
  • If you can, walk around the conference hall and check out the exhibition. There is cool stuff on display, and sometimes you even get merchandise. Some booths host raffles, so there’s your chance to win a NUC!
Congratulations to the 2019 Student Cluster Competition Winners:
Overall: Tsinghua University
Linpack: Nanyang Technological University
HPCG: Nanyang Technological University
io500: Tsinghua University


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