SALT LAKE CITY, Utah–Despite a strong effort by the hometown University of Utah team, students from the University of Science and Technology of China took top honors in the tenth running of the Student Cluster Competition at the SC16 conference.
For the first time in the history of the event, one team won both categories: best performance of the LINPACK benchmark application and best overall team performance. The competition, which debuted at SC07 in Reno, is a real-time, non-stop, 48-hour challenge in which teams of six undergraduates assemble a small cluster on the exhibit floor and race to complete a real-world workload across a series of scientific applications.
The Chinese team, nicknamed “SwanGeese” for a rare bird, garnered a total of 88.5 points awarded for benchmark and applications performance, engaging with the HPC community through interviews, a poster and demonstrated understanding of select conference technical sessions. This was the third time the university had entered the SC conference Student Cluster Competition.
The SupercompUtes team from the University of Utah racked up 86 points, which earned them second place, in their first time in the competition.
Another noteworthy accomplishment was achieved by the Northeastern University/Auburn University team. Their equipment shipment was delayed and did not arrive in time for the competition. Their vendor sponsor, AMD, as well as some of the other teams donated hardware and the team was able to take the components they had never seen and put together an HPC machine in less than a day. Although they didn’t win, they scored well and were recognized with an unofficial “MacGyver Award” for their resourcefulness.
Other teams competing at SC16 were:
Friedrich-Alexander University, Germany
Huazhong University of Science and Technology, China
Nanyang Technological University, Singapore
National Tsing Hua University, Taiwan
Peking University, China
San Diego State University, United States
Team MGHPCC, United States
Technical University of Munich, Germany
Universidad EAFIT, Colombia
University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign, United States
University of Texas at Austin/Texas State University, United States
For the first time, the competition included a scientific reproducibility component: students were challenged to reproduce a research paper from SC15 rather than focus on throughput of prescribed data sets. Although they performed similar tasks from previous competitions, the reproducibility aspect had them see it from an entirely new perspective — as a component to the scientific process.