Support us!

With the SCC’s “Final Architecture Deadline” coming up on 30th of April, we just finished our evaluation period. Now we can get back to what the contest really is about: building an efficient and competitive high performance computer.

After months of testing different pieces of computing hardware, we just made a big step towards the ISC’13. CPUs, (GP)GPUs, a MIC Co-processor Card, RAM and mainboards – we have seen them all. They came, they have been tested and – most of them – have been dismissed.

But, finally, a decision has been made! We just figured out how our kluster is going to look like. This means we do not yet actually know how it is going to look like*, but we know what its future inner values are going to be. Our next task is to get our hands on the needed hardware. On plenty of hardware.

This is where you come in: To be able to build our cluster we need your support! Your company is working on or with HPC hardware? You are using Software that requires powerful parallel computing resources? You just want to support a project of young students because its a kind of cool? We would be happy to reckon you among our supporters!

If you or your company are interested in supporting us, please send an email to our team leader. You will find a mail form below this post.

Of course, your Name or company logo will be presented at our booth at the ICS’13 and on our Internet blog.

* Final decisions on this have not been made yet but let me ensure you: We have a plan and its gonna be legendary 😉


Examining the Applications

A few days ago the applications that are going to be used as benchmarks for the competition were announced: GROMACS (simulation of molecular dynamics), MILC (numerical simulations related to quantum chromodynamics) and WRF (numerical weather prediction system). Additionally two secret benchmarks will be announced at the competition.

In view of these public benchmarks we can now evaluate the possible hardware configurations to find out what system will provide the best performance. Therefor we have to discover the peculiarities of each application and make out possible bottlenecks. On the software side we are testing different versions of compilers, libraries, MPI implementations, etc. to figure out the best set of settings for each application.

Press Release

Just before Christmas we published our first press release:

Students from Karlsruhe build Supercomputers again

A team of computer science students at the Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT) in Germany has qualified for the Student Cluster Competition 2013. In this international computer event, which will be part of the International Supercomputing Conference (ISC) in June 2013 in Leipzig in Germany, nine teams from around the world will compete with their custom configured high-performance computer clusters. The goal is to achieve the highest performance, while keeping the power consumption under 3000 W. The Karlsruhe team “kluster” is aiming to repeat the success of its predecessor, which won two prices at the last encounter at the ISC 2012.

The great challenge for the competitors is to configure the hardware and software in such a way that the system performs well on a range of benchmark applications, which stress different aspects of the system. It will therefore be necessary to find the optimal balance between the performance and power consumption of the processors, the memory and the network components. Some of the benchmarks are synthetic tests, that are limited by a single aspect of the system, whereas others are applications that perform numerical simulations, and behave in a manner that is more difficult to predict. The optimization of the system is further complicated by the fact that two of the benchmarks will only be announced during the competition itself.

To meet this challenge, the team from Karlsruhe is already now testing and evaluating different systems and technologies. The selection of components requires a broad spectrum of knowledge and deep insight into how to achieve the maximum possible performance on computer clusters. The team is supported by scientists at the Engineering Mathematics and Computing Lab (EMCL), as well as by sponsors and partners in the computing industry. The main sponsor is the company Christmann from Ilsede, Germany, which was recently awarded the Green IT Practice Award for the system with which the previous team competed. They will again support the kluster team with access to hardware, as well as provide advice for the many choices that must be made.

The article can also be found in German on the website of the KIT.

Status update

As the HPC Advisory Council released the list of competitors we are now officially accepted!

For the last few weeks we were very busy testing and tuning our first test system consisting of two nodes. The results are very promising and we are very optimistic concerning the outcome of the competition. We are currently planing a second test setup to explore new options and weed out the weak points we recognized in our current system.
Sadly we still didn’t get a chance to get our hands on either a Xeon Phi nor a NVidia Kepler, but we are definitely working on it.

For now our main pursuit is to get out a press releases and find more sponsors.

The competitors have been announced!

In June 2013 we are going to compete against teams of the following universities:

  • National Tsing Hua University
  • EPCC, The University of Edinburgh
  • CHPC (Centre for High Performance Computing, South Africa)
  • Chemnitz University of Technology
  • University of Colorado
  • Costa Rica Institute of Technology
  • 2 teams from China – TBA

NVidia announces something to play with

NVidia announced the K20 and K20X which will theoretically deliver 1.17TFlops/225W and 1.31TFlops/235W respectively. Intel Xeon Phi perform with only 1.01TFLops/225W but programs can be more easily adjusted to run on them.

Provided we manage to get our hands on both we’ll perform tests with both technologies because in the end what matters for us is the real performance we can get out of 3000W not the theoretical maximal performance per card.

(Sources: ,

ISC’13 team

Motivated by the success of last year’s team, we founded a new one to compete at the ISC’13. We have been working since the middle of October and finally this week our application got accepted!

We’ll cooperate very closely with Christmann informationstechnik + medien GmbH & Co. KG again and have already a test system running which consists of two nodes. So far our test results are very promising.
Our next step is to experiment with accelerator cards and to acquire sponsors.

The website of last years team can still be found at:


Our first test system from Christman


One node opened up (sideview)