Tag Archives: ISC 15

2015 HPCAC-ISC Student Cluster Competition

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The 4th annual HPCAC-ISC Student Cluster Competition (SCC) is a joint event hosted by the HPC Advisory Council (HPCAC) and the organizers of the International Supercomputing Conference (ISC). It is an excellent opportunity to showcase students’ HPC expertise in a friendly yet spirited competition. The SCC event will be held during the ISC’15 Conference and Exhibition in Frankfurt, Germany from July 13 to 15, 2015.

The competition will feature small teams that compete to demonstrate the incredible capabilities of state-of-the-art high-performance cluster hardware and software. In a real-time challenge, it will feature 11 teams of six undergraduate students from around the world to showcase the small clusters of their own design on the ISC’15 exhibit floor. In this three-day event, the university teams will race to demonstrate the greatest performance across a range of HPC benchmarks and applications. The participating teams for this year’s competition at ISC’15 are:

  1. Centre for High Performance Computing (CHPC), South Africa
  2. Purdue University and Universidad EAFIT, United States and Colombia
  3. Chemnitz University of Technology, Germany
  4. University of Science and Technology of China (USTC), China
  5. University of São Paulo (USP), Brazil
  6. University of Hamburg, Germany
  7. Jamia Millia Islamia University (JMI), India
  8. University of Tartu, Estonia
  9. Universitat Politecnica de Catalunya (UPC), Spain
  10. Tsinghua University, China
  11. National University of Defense Technology (NUDT), China


The students will have a unique opportunity to learn, experience and demonstrate how HPC can influence our world and day-to-day learning. This experience will help them enhance their knowledge and will become useful for their professional careers. The selected applications for the competition come from different areas of sciences that use HPC:


  • LAMMPS is a classical molecular dynamics code, and an acronym for Large-scale Atomic/Molecular Massively Parallel Simulator. LAMMPS has potentials for solid-state materials (metals, semiconductors) and soft matter (biomolecules, polymers) and coarse-grained or meso-scopic systems. It can be used to model atoms or, more generically, as a parallel particle simulator at the atomic, meso, or continuum scale. LAMMPS runs on single processors or in parallel using message-passing techniques and a spatial-decomposition of the simulation domain. LAMMPS is distributed as an open source code under the terms of the GPL.


  • PyFR is an open-source Python based framework for solving advection-diffusion type problems on streaming architectures using the Flux Reconstruction approach of Huynh. The framework is designed to solve a range of governing systems on mixed unstructured grids containing various element types. It is also designed to target a range of hardware platforms via use of an in-built domain specific language derived from the Mako templating engine.


  • Octopus is a scientific program aimed at the ab initio virtual experimentation on a hopefully ever-increasing range of system types. Electrons are described quantum-mechanically within density-functional theory (DFT), in its time-dependent form (TDDFT) when doing simulations in time. Nuclei are described classically as point particles. Electron-nucleus interaction is described within the pseudo potential approximation.


There will be secret applications announced on each day of the competition. The intent is to present challenging problems for the teams, thus good teamwork within members of each team is required to analyze and solve the unfamiliar workload.




The teams will have a constraint of power limited to 3 kW on their cluster configuration. The power draw from their compute cluster will have to stay under the 3 KW power limit. Aside from that, it is up for the team to use any of the hardware they can get from their equipment sponsors on the hardware side, as well as any compilers, software and operating systems level tuning they may deploy on the software stack to achieve the best application performance.


It all concludes with a ceremony on the main conference keynote stage to award and recognize all student participants in front of thousands of HPC luminaries. In the end, there will be five awards given:

  • Highest LINPACK, for the highest score received for the LINPACK benchmark under the power budget.
  • Fan Favorite, to be given to the team which receives the most unique votes from ISC participants during the Student Cluster Competition.
  • 1st, 2nd and 3rd Place Overall Winners, for the 3 overall winner awards given to the teams that are determined by the scoring of all the chosen HPC applications, benchmarks, as well as judging by the panel of HPC experts during the interview sessions.


For more information, please visit: http://hpcadvisorycouncil.com/events/2015/isc15-student-cluster-competition