In the greatest upset in cluster competition history, the team from South Africa’s CHPC won the overall championship at the ISC’13 Student Cluster Challenge. They were one of only two teams that successfully completed every task.
In the win, the CHPC team overcame several obstacles, including not having access to their competition configuration until a day after they arrived at the show. They were also the youngest team, composed exclusively of undergraduate students.
The team, sponsored by Dell, made good use of the PowerEdge R320/R720 servers provided by the company. Their cluster had eight nodes, each with dual Xeon E5-2660 processors, for a total of 128 CPU cores. The South Africa system also sported 512 GB of memory (64GB per node) and utilized a Mellanox FDR Infiniband interconnect.
Like every other team this year, the South African team used accelerators to give their cluster a turbocharged punch. While some teams used Intel Phi co-processors, Team South Africa went with eight NVIDIA K20 cards, which seemed to do the trick.
Congratulations, South Africa! What a way to put yourself onto the Student Cluster Competition map!
We’ll be following up with much more material from the ISC’13 Challenge including interviews with the teams, details about their configurations and strategies, and analysis of what we learned from this competition. Stay tuned, there’s much more ISC’13 Challenge material on the way…