The University of Colorado Buffalo team has competed at every Student Cluster Competition – this is year six. The 2011 team is packed with veterans; almost every member has been to the big cluster dance before. Team Buffalo is driving 16-core AMD Interlagos processors perched on four Dell quad-socket server chassis.
Their 256 cores put them at the upper end of the conventional core count among the competitors. While half of this year’s teams added GPUs to their cluster stew, Colorado was looking to build a system that would perform well on all of the apps – not just those that have been optimized for CUDA.
The Buffs have separated themselves from the herd in two key areas: experience and memory. They have the most experienced team in the competition, which should pay dividends when it comes to deciding how to attack the scientific workloads during the 48-hour marathon part of the competition. Their cluster also has significantly more memory per node, sporting 128GB/node vs. an average of approximately 64GB for their competitors.
Take a look at the video to get a better feel for Team Colorado. It’s easy to see why they’ve won awards for “Fan Favorite” in the past; they’re an engaging bunch, and earnest as all get-out. They also have the distinction of fielding the tallest SCC competitor to date – a 7-footer. How will this factor into the battle? Will experience, high core counts, vast system memory, and the tallest average team member height combine to become the winning formula for Colorado in 2011?