It’s time for our annual video meet ‘n greet with the ASC18 Student Cluster Competition teams. Each team took a little time out from their fierce competition to chat with us for a few minutes. We really appreciate the time. And, besides, what better way to commemorate Mother’s Day than to give all the moms out there a chance to see their little darlings battle each other for cluster competition glory?
Team Beihang: Like in most of the videos with the Chinese teams, our trusty translator Susan does a great job telling the students what I’m jabbering at them about and, in turn, telling me how they respond.
Team FAU: They’re in good shape at this point in the competition, but feeling the heat (both literally and figuratively – this is before the ice arrived on the event floor).
Fuzhou University: Susan takes the floor again as our communication lifeline to this team from China.
Team Hong Kong: Our pals at Hong Kong Baptist are in a good mood when we catch up to them on the show floor. We’ve seen these guys over the past three years and they always have great attitudes and are a lot of fun.
Huazhong Agricultural University: The team introduces themselves to me and Susan. We even get a short interview with their advisor, who then leads the team in a cheer – love that enthusiasm.
Team Hungary (University of Miskolc): We meet the team and learn about their various functions. They’re all excited and nervous, which is to be expected, right? The team is also using GPUs for the first time ever, which will give their cluster a kick, but also puts additional pressure on the team from a technical standpoint.
Team Kasetsart: We get a chance to talk to the team and their advisor in the video. This is the only team to ever compete from Thailand, and their second overall appearance. However, this is a wholly new team. This is also the first time the team is using NVIDIA v100 GPUs, but they seem to be fairly comfortable with them.
Team Nanchang: We finally get a chance to interview the home team representing Nanchang University. Susan is again invaluable in helping us communicate with the team. As you can see in the video, space is very tight for these teams. Usually they have a 10×10 area, but this barely looks like a 7×5 sized booth.
Team NTHU: This team is from the National Tsing Hua University, located in Taiwan. This university has sent a lot of teams to various cluster competitions throughout the world. As a side note, one of the team members is sporting high performance hair, which he asserts makes him more handsome. The jury is still out on that one.
Team NUDT: This team represents China’s National University of Defense Technology and has participated on many previous cluster competitions. Back in the day, this team was always a threat to take home the LINPACK crown, but they’ve been quiet recently.
Team Qinghai University: This is another first time team at the ASC competition. We don’t know too much about them, but they seem to be doing a fine job of cluster driving. The woman we are interviewing, along with Susan, does a great job of introducing the rest of the team.
Team Shanghai Jiao Tong: Team Shanghai has been around a long time and has even competed at the German ISC competition. While they haven’t won the big prize, they’re well represented by several second place finishes and application awards. This is the fourth time I’ve interviewed this representative of the Team Shanghai, which is great fun.
Team ShanghaiTech: A first time team from a very young university to boot. ShanghaiTech is only 5 years old, having been established in 2013. Despite the youth of their program, this team seems to really be on top of what they’re doing.
Team Southeast University: Southeast University is ably introduced by their captain. It was a concise interview, a ‘just the facts, ma’am’ type of thing. They’re going to let their clustering do the talking.
Saint Petersburg State University: This is the third time the St. Petersburg team has competed at the ASC competition. In the interview, they noted that their team has had problems in the past, but that their goal is steady progress and improvement.
Team Sun Yat-Sen: Our interview with Sun Yat-Sen took quite a while to conduct. They seemed to have much confusion about our simple little interview – how to introduce themselves, how to discuss their jobs, etc. Susan, as always, helped explain what we needed and the interview proceeded without a hitch.
Team Taiyuan: Another team whose name I have difficulty pronouncing, as I prove in the video. Our pal Susan takes over for me and makes sure that the team gets a proper introduction to the millions of people who are rabidly following these competitions.
Team Texas A&M: Finally, a team whose name I can pronounce. When we catch up with the team, they’re getting their machine set up. It turns out that they’ve got their cluster wagon heading down the wrong trail. As I found out later, the team was trying to use desktop Umbuntu as their cluster o/s, rather than the Cent o/s that virtually every other cluster team uses. Plus the team hasn’t been able to practice bringing up a system from scratch at all. This is going to leave a mark. Ouch.
Team Tsinghua: We get a chance to interview the team leader for the multi-championship Team Tsinghua. The team is quietly going about their business with an air of confidence as befits a team that ran away from the field at last year’s competition.
Team Zhejiang: This is a team that has some experience, having competed three times at the ASC event. The team does a good job of introducing themselves, particularly Mark, who is the hardware artist in charge of the cluster.
Hopefully the audio in the videos isn’t too annoying. We were filming in an extremely small space, which put us cheek and jowl with their systems enclosures. However, the quality Sennheiser microphones helped out quite a bit, along with some post production in Adobe Audition. It’s still not as good as it would be in a less crowded venue, but you take what you get and deal with it as best you can – just like the kids in the competition.
Upcoming articles will unveil the scores from the competition….stay tuned…