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.
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.