University of Tartu students participate in an international cluster building competition

On June 17–19, the University of Tartu student team, Tartu Team is participating in ISC 2019, one of the biggest student cluster competitions in the world, competing with 14 other teams to design and build a cluster to solve computing problems. This is the third time the University of Tartu has taken part in the event.

During the competition the team needs to configure their cluster with a 3000 W power limit to solve various high-performance computing tasks, including deep learning for climate analytics task, quantum chemistry simulations, cosmological simulations and high-performance computing benchmarks. Moreover, they need to tune the code compatible with their cluster and optimise its performance. Another challenging task is controlling the energy efficiency and power consumption of their cluster.

Team captain Phuong Nguyen said that thanks to their sponsors they have built an amazing cluster for the competition with six nodes, 10 CPUs with a total of 320 cores, eight Tesla V100 graphics processing units and up to 3 TB SSD storage. “We worked together for eight months for preparation. Along with experiences gained from the Asian Student Supercomputer Challenge, I’m quite confident that my team will have a good performance,” Nguyen said.

“Such competitions give valuable experience for the contestants,” says Andre Tättar, a PhD student at the University of Tartu Institute of Computer Science and one of the two coaches for the Tartu Team. The team will have to give their very best to win because the top student teams from around the world are competing at the event. “Although challenging, this type of competitions can really make the university years enjoyable and memorable,” Tättar added.

The participating teams come from the universities of Singapore, Switzerland, the UK, Poland, USA, Spain, Taiwan, Germany, China and South Africa. The Tartu Team is the only one from the Baltic countries.

The students’ participation in the contest is supported by, AMD, Gigabyte, Nvidia, Mellanox Technologies, Toshiba and Network Tomorrow.

Previously, the team has competed in the ASC Asian Supercomputer Challenge 2019, where 300 teams enrolled but only the 20 best ones, including the Tartu Team, qualified for the finals. In November, the team will participate in the SC19 Student Cluster Competition in the USA.

More information: Phuong Nguyen, University of Tartu bachelor’s student of Physics, Chemistry and Materials Science, +372 5676 6058,