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The Student Cluster Competition programme is divided into three rounds: Team Selection, the CHPC Student Cluster Competition and the HPCAC Student Cluster Challenge. Each team participating in the competition consists of four undergraduate students and a postgraduate mentor. There are no fees for participation in the competition. The CHPC will cover the costs of travel, accommodation and food during all events.

Round 1 - Team Selection

Team Selection is designed to impart critical knowledge for building a cluster, this includes: using Linux systems, the basic software stack of a cluster and considerations which should be taken into account when choosing hardware. Team Selection concludes with an assignment which requires each team to build a prototype cluster in the Cloud. The results from the Team Selection project and application are used to select the teams which will proceed to the CHPC Student Cluster Competition.

Round 2 - CHPC Student Cluster Competition

In the CHPC Student Cluster Competition participants build small HPC clusters out of hardware provided by the CHPC and its industrial partners. The contest takes place on the exhibition floor at the CHPC National Meeting in Cape Town. The participants are given a selection of applications to optimise and run on their cluster to demonstrate their design’s performance. The winning team will be entered into HPCAC Student Cluster Challenge.

Each team is assigned a budget of approximately R200,000.00 ex VAT and a parts list from one of the CHPC's industry partners. With this budget and parts list, the team must design a cluster taking into consideration the set of application which will be used to benchmark the cluster. Once the cluster's design is finalised the hardware specification is submitted to the CHPC's partners for manufacturing.

The hardware, as specified in the cluster design, is delivered to the exhibition floor of the CHPC National Meeting. Here the teams unpack their equipment, construct their cluster, install the software stack and perform benchmarks. The teams are judged on a combination of the performance of the applications and the design of the cluster.

Round 3 - HPCAC Student Cluster Challenge

The winning team of the CHPC Student Cluster Competition with two additional individuals, selected from the other teams by the judges, will be entered into the HPCAC Student Cluster Challenge. The HPCAC Student Cluster Challenge is organised by the HPC Advisory Council and is hosted annually at the International Supercomputing Conference in Germany.

For more information visit the HPC Advisory Council's Student Cluster Challenge website.