Student Cluster Competition        
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2015 Competition
Austin, Texas

Technische Universität München
Munich, Germany

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Technische Universität München teamTechnische Universität München logo

Michael Zellner,   Gregor Matl,   Felix Thimm,   Daniel Gallenberger,   Felix Spaeth,   Sharru Moeller

Team TUMuchPhun: A Chronology of Events

While the Oktoberfest in Munich is in full swing, people in traditional clothing are pouring through the city and millions of liters of beer are sold, team TUMuchPhun is completely sober and working hard on the applications for this year's Student Cluster Competition.

Team TUMuchPhun – that is six computer science students from the Technische Universität München, who are highly interested in high performance computing. The team members Michael Zellner, Gregor Matl, Felix Thimm, Daniel Gallenberger, Felix Spaeth, Sharru Moeller (from left to right) shown in the picture above at the university's parabola slide.

The story of our team started in March this year, when the local chair for scientific computing introduced students to the competition for the very first time. We were quickly intrigued by the possibilities of this competition, by the knowledge we will gain about high performance computing, the possibility to work on actual scientific codes and on supercomputers, and maybe to some extent by the fact that the competition will take place in Austin, Texas.

The following weeks were dominated by plenty of meetings, a tremendous number of mails and our first photo shoot, all of which resulted in our application for the competition. Then, one month of suspense followed, until in May our team was finally accepted.

At this point of time, the actual technical work started. Every team member was assigned two or three of the five applications required for the competition, tasked to gain a deeper understanding of it and make it run on the Leibniz Rechenzentrum (LRZ), one of the worlds biggest HPC clusters.

Our secret weapon for the contest are our Xeon Phi coprocessor cards, multiple of which can be combined into one node that will allow us to crunch huge amounts of data with high efficiency, especially with respect to power consumption. Luckily, the Leibniz Rechenzentrum contains a Xeon Phi cluster which is very similar to the hardware we will bring to the competition and is right adjoined to our university, therefore it makes an amazing training ground.

In biweekly meetings we tried to solve the problems we encountered (which were plenty) and shared the tricks and hacks we discovered, compared our results and distributed upcoming tasks. So far, we encountered the biggest trouble with Trinity, because one of its components requires java, which our architecture does not offer, yet. On the other hand, MILC is our most favorite algorithm, since even on Xeon Phi nodes it runs very smoothly without any major adjustments. However, our motivation for the project is very strong, the more we are trying out on our systems, the more interested we become.

Our new team logo depicts all five applications.

As the competition is coming closer, we are currently engaged executing the algorithms in parallel and gaining some performance data. Also, we are steadily working on visualization techniques and polishing our media presence, e.g. with our new team logo.

In addition we might pay a visit to the Oktoberfest some time soon :)

About the Technische Universität München Team: