Student Cluster Competition
General Competition Rules
Hardware Rules and Specifications
- Safety First. Equipment configurations are always subject to safety as first consideration. If it cannot be done safely then it is unacceptable. When in doubt, ask an SCC supervisor.
- Hands off. No one can touch the equipment physically after the competition starts Monday morning with the HPCC benchmark runs. If there is a need to touch the equipment an official from the SCC committee needs to be called and will rule on the issue. The only exception is in keeping with Rule 1: if an unsafe condition is found, anyone can power down the equipment, and an SCC supervisor must be called immediately afterwards.
- Powered on at all times. All equipment used for running the HPCC benchmarks must be used when running the competition applications (i.e. You cannot run LINPACK on half the machine and then power up the whole system to run the competition applications).
- No rebooting. Reboots are only necessary for hung or failed hardware. An SCC committee member must be notified and present for any rebooting of hardware.
- Assistance from others. Prior to the competition, teams are encouraged to work closely with vendor partners and domain scientists to understand their hardware and the competition applications. This is a wonderful learning opportunity for the students, and we hope team members, the supervisor, and vendor partners collaborate to maximize the educational impact. Once the competition starts, student teams will not be allowed to receive assistance from supervisors or vendor partners. The six team members will be on their own to work through cluster and application issues.
- Stay Under Power. Alarms will go off if the power draw on either PDU exceeds the 1560-watt soft limit, and point penalties will be assessed for each alarm and for not responding appropriately to the issue.
- On Site Access Only. Teams will NOT be permitted to access their clusters from outside the local network.
Power Rules and Specifications
- Booths will be 10 feet x 10 feet and back to a solid wall or curtain. Teams must fit into this space along with the hardware for all activities and must have the display visible to the viewing public.
- Teams are responsible for obtaining their cluster hardware and transporting it to the Convention Center.
- The computational hardware (processors, switch, storage, etc.) must fit into an enclosure no larger than a single 42U rack, which must be provided by the team.
- No extra cooling will be provided by the competition outside of the normal conference center operations.
- Any external cooling systems must be closed loop systems and the entire system must be on the competition metered power. Once the competition starts no liquid may be removed or added to any cooling systems. (eg. no drains)
- The hardware must be commercially available at the time of competition start (Monday morning) and teams must display, for public view, a complete list of hardware and software used in the system. All hardware must meet these requirements:
- No hardware in the competition machine may be subject to a Non-Disclosure Agreement.
- All technical specifications of all hardware components should be available to the general public at competition start.
- All performance results from the competition machine can be published without restriction.
- No changes to the physical configuration are permitted after the start of the competition. In the case of hardware failure, replacements can be made while supervised by an SCC committee member.
- Use of sleep states (no power off and no hibernation) is permitted as long as when all systems in the rack are powered on into their lowest running OS (non-sleep) state they do not exceed the power limitation.
- The running hardware must not exceed the power limitation(1560 watts x 2 circuits); this is especially important for teams who bring extra and/or spare hardware.
- Other systems (such as laptops and monitors) may be powered from separate power sources provided by the conference.
- A network drop will be provided for outgoing connections only. Teams will NOT be permitted to access their clusters from outside the local network.
- Computational hardware may be connected via wired connections only – wireless access is not permitted.
- Wireless access for laptops will be available throughout the convention center via SCinet.
System Software Rules and Guidelines
- All components associated with the system, and access to it, must be powered through the 120-volt range, 20-amp circuits provided by the Conference.
- Battery backup or UPS (Uninterruptible Power Supply) systems may not be used during the competition.
- Two circuits, each with a soft limit of 1560-watt, will be provided.
- The model of PDU the competition will use is: Geist RCXRN102-102D20TL5-D PDU.
- Teams should tune their equipment never to exceed the 1560-watt limit on each of the two PDUs.
- Teams should be prepared to tune their hardware’s power consumption based on the power reported by the PDUs’ power monitor, which teams will be able to read from the PDUs’ LED readouts as well as over Ethernet via SNMP.
- Any time a team registers over 1560-watt is subject to a penalty.
- If there are frequent blips or blips within a recognizable pattern the team will be penalized.
- Teams are subject to penalization or disqualification if they ever register 1800-watt (15-amp at 120-volt) or more for any duration.
- Convention center power is breakered at 20 amps and may blow before the PDU, causing delays for the team as well as expense and hassle for the competition organizers.
System Architecture Rules and Guidelines
- Teams may choose any operating system and software stack that will run the challenges and display software.
- Teams may pre-load and test the applications and other software.
- Teams may study and tune the open-source benchmarks and applications for their platforms (within the rules, of course).
- We encourage teams to use schedulers to run their clusters autonomously while they enjoy other aspects of the conference.
- Each accepted team must submit a final architecture proposal by the date listed on the SC Submissions web site for Final Architecture.
- Failure to submit a final architecture proposal will result in automatic disqualification. The final architecture should be closely determined with sponsors, taking into consideration the competition applications.
- Hardware and software combinations should be generally applicable to any computational science domain. This is especially important as not all applications will be revealed to the teams until at the competition.
- While novel system configurations are encouraged, systems designed to target a single application or benchmark will generally not be favorably considered.
- The proposal should contain detailed information about both the hardware being used and the software stack that will be used to participate in the challenge.
- The detail should be sufficient for the judging panel to determine if all the applications will easily port to and run on the computational infrastructure being proposed.