A team of six students from the Universities of the Western Cape and Stellenbosch have been selected to represent South Africa at the International Student Cluster Competition to be hosted at the 2017 International Supercomputing Conference (ISC) in Frankfurt, Germany, in June.
The team was selected from 10 teams from various universities in South Africa, who battled it out to demonstrate their cluster building and high-performance computing skills. The awards ceremony took place on 8 December 2016 at the 10th National Conference of the Centre for High Performance Computing (CHPC), held in East London, under the theme ‘The Last Decade of Accomplishment, the Next Decade of Opportunity’.
At the National Student Cluster Competition level, the students compete to demonstrate the incredible capabilities of state-of-the-art high-performance cluster hardware and software. In a real-time challenge, teams of undergraduate students build small high-performance computing clusters on the exhibition floor, using hardware provided by CHPC and its industrial partners, and race to demonstrate the best performance across a series of benchmarks and applications.
The CHPC is a key component of South Africa’s national integrated cyber infrastructure system, implemented by the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) on behalf of the Department of Science and Technology. The CHPC is not a newcomer to the ISC Student Cluster Competition, having won the top prize in 2013 and in 2014, and taking second place in 2015. This year the centre entered a team of undergraduate students chosen in the 2015 National Student Cluster Competition, and took the overall prize once again, beating 11 other contenders from across the globe.
The International Student Cluster Competition is regarded as the premier international high-performance computing student competition, involving teams from prestigious universities around the world, such as Purdue University, the University of Colorado Boulder and the National Energy Research Scientific Computing Centre (USA), Nanyang Technological University (Singapore), the University of Science and Technology of China (China) and the University of Hamburg (Germany).
The winning team members are Mishka Mohamed (University of the Western Cape), Kyle Jordaan (University of the Western Cape), Tyrone de Ruiters (University of the Western Cape), Liam Doult (University of the Western Cape), Phillip Goosen (Stellenbosch University) and Lydia de Lange (Stellenbosch University). The reserves are Emma Clark (University of the Witwatersrand) and Ella Wilby (Rhodes University).
Congratulating the winners, science and technology minister, Naledi Pandor, wished the team every success in taking on the competition next year. “With South Africa having come first three out of the four times the country has competed in this international competition, there is naturally some pressure on the team, but I am confident that the CHPC will once more provide excellent support to our team, and that we will be proud of the outcome. We are very happy to see our investment in e-infrastructure programmes yielding such exceptional results, and are excited about the promise they hold for the future, she stated.
Dell EMC sponsored the hardware for the national competition, and Eclipse Holdings, Mellanox and Bright Computing sponsored the prizes. For the international competition, Dell EMC will provide the team with equipment, travel, accommodation, meals and training.