Student Cluster Competition
Illinois Institute of Technology
- What's your major and what led you to pick it?
Alex Ballmer—Computer Science - I have been interested in this kind of thing all my life.
Andrei Georgian Dumitru—I picked Computer Science because I was fascinated by the endless ways a computer scientist can benefit society.
Adnan Haider—Computer Science, I like logical thinking.
Keshav Kapoor—(Highschool student)
Calin Segarceanu—My major is Computer Science and I picked it because I've been studying different parts of cs for 6 years. And I realised that math and cs are the only subjects which I am really good at.
Ben Walters—Computer science. I originally thought learning Java and few more languages was the extent of CS. But the first lecture I heard about distributed and parallel computing made me realize the endless possibilities of CS.
- In what other events like this have you competed? Was that as a team
or individually? How did you do?
Alex Ballmer, Ben Walters—We have only competed in this event last year. Overall, we placed 9th place out of 12. But we placed 1st in unmodified Linpack. Nobody else has competed in other events like this.
- What training routine are you following to prepare for this year's
We have assigned primary and secondary applications and focus areas to each team member. We have identified many parameters that we think will affect application performance (Ex: compiler flags). We are working on conducting a large parameter sweep that will collect performance and power consumption data.
- What's your primary role on your current team and why did you get that
Alex Ballmer—HPC Repast
Andrei Georgian Dumitru—MILC, Mystery app exploration
Adnan Haider—Trinity, parallel file systems
Calin Segarceanu—Linpack, Power management
Ben Walters—WRF, System administration
- What's been your most challenging assignment in preparing for this
competition? Do you think that assignment gave you an advantage in the
competition? Most students have just started working on the competition, so we haven't really figured out which assignments are the tough ones.
- What's been the easiest part of preparing for the competition so far? We competed last year, so we are pretty familiar with the software stack. We were able to setup a test cluster much faster than last year.
- How about the most difficult? Our biggest task has been scripting a repeatable build process. This has been important because we do not have our cluster yet, so we have had a fragmented testbed of whatever machines we can find. This also makes it difficult to collect power consumption data since we do not have privileged access to some of the test systems.
- What architectural details can you share that will put fear into the
hearts of your competitors?
We have pretty blinking lights.
- What do you like about mysteries? How are your preparing for the
mystery application? The mystery application will force us to learn and react quickly, which will be both difficult and fun. We plan to explore HPC applications from different fields, which we will try to characterize them based on attributes, such as whether they are compute, network, or I/O bound. Hopefully, this will help us more easily predict performance characteristics of the mystery application.
- Why do you want to win? What are you willing to do to win? We want to win in order to bring good publicity to IIT. We also want to bring more attention to HPC within our school. We are willing to work extremely hard throughout the semester and stay up for 48 hours!
- What are you planning to do after the competition is over? We all plan to continue working on undergraduate research projects in several of the systems research labs at IIT.