02 June 2022 – High performance computingHeidelberg Students Take First Place in Student Cluster Competition

Great success for the "Heidelbears": The team of Heidelberg students won first place at the ISC Student Cluster Competition in the in-person competition in Hamburg. They were supervised by experts from the University Computing Centre.

SCC Team Heidelbears 2022 with trophies

In addition to first place in the in-person competition, the students also achieved the highest results in the LINPACK Challenge, thereby securing a total of two victories as the grand champions - a particularly impressive achievement given the heterogeneous hardware requirements involved. LINPACK is a benchmark tool that is also used to create the TOP500 list of the world's most powerful supercomputers as “High Performance LINPACK” (HPL).

At the Student Cluster Competition, an annual international competition, students come together from all over the world to compete in the field of high performance computing (HPC). In the competition, the participants tackle various challenges in HPC. This was the fifth time in a row that a team of students from Heidelberg University qualified for the competition. This year's team was sponsored by the Gauss Centre for Supercomputing (GCS) e.V. and MEGWARE.

Prof. Dr. Vincent Heuveline, managing director of the URZ and CIO of Heidelberg University, congratulates the students: “This is a terrific achievement for our team and our university - the ISC SCC is a tough competition with excellent international competitors. We are proud that our students performed so magnificently in this challenging field.”

The URZ coaches Alexander Haller and Aksel Alpay summarized the event, saying, “It really paid off that we had participated so regularly in the Student Cluster Competition. The experience of the past few years was incredibly helpful. It allowed our students to work very independently, and they accomplished great things - and the whole team had a lot of fun at SCC.”

This year, due to the coronavirus pandemic, the competition was held in a hybrid format. For the digital part, in which all 17 international teams participated, the students were tasked with optimizing several HPC applications for predetermined external HPC clusters. The applications could be used, for example, to calculate weather forecasts and climate models, analyze turbulent flows or solve problems in molecular engineering. Additionally, the participants needed to reprogram an HPC application to run as quickly as possible on specific new hardware.

For the in-person part of the competition, in which only the five European teams participated, the students were required to build and configure a “mini-HPC cluster” and run applications on it with the highest performance possible. The hardware components could be selected freely but were not allowed to exceed a power limit of 3000W. For the digital competition, the available computing resources included supercomputers at the Pittsburgh Supercomputing Center (PSC), the University of Toronto and the HPC Advisory Council High-Performance Center in Sunnyvale, California.

The digital competition took place from 14 March to 12 May 2022. The in-person competition in Hamburg ran from 30 May to 1 June 2022. During this time, the students were able to work on the tasks and optimize their results and the associated presentations.

The Student Cluster Competition is part of ISC High Performance, one of the world's largest exhibition and conference events for high performance computing. The competition is jointly organized by the ISC Group and HPC-AI Advisory Council.

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    ISC 2022 SCC - Certificate Linpack
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    ISC 2022 SCC - Certificate Grand Champions
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    Team trophies for the Heidelbears at the ISC SCC 2022