DataSys: Data-Intensive Distributed Systems LaboratoryData-Intensive Distributed Systems Laboratory

Illinois Institute of Technology
Department of Computer Science

Student Cluster Competition (SCC) @ IEEE/ACM Supercomputing/SC 2014

SCC@SC14 TeamsThe Student Cluster Competition is a competition aimed at high-school and undergraduate students, co-located with the IEEE/ACM Supercomputing/SC, which aims to bring in the best of the best students from all around the world competing for fame and glory in running 5 high-performance applications/benchmarks (Linpack/HPCC, NAMD, ADCIRC, Matlab, and Enzo) over a 48-hour period on hardware that they have built and configured with the help of sponsors (Argonne National Laboratory, Intel, NVIDIA, and Mellanox). There were many different awards given to different teams for various benchmarks or applications, including overall performance; the IIT team achieved the highest unmodified HPL benchmark (the de-facto benchmark in high-performance computing) as part of HPCC using 216-cores (Intel Xeon E5-2699 v3) over 6-nodes and a dual-rail 56Gb/sec Infiniband network interconnect.

SCC SC14 TeamThe Chicago Fusion team consisted of 5 undergraduate students from the Illinois Institute of Technology (IIT), a high-school student from Glenbrook South High-School (GBS), a faculty advisor with a joint appointment between IIT and Argonne National Laboratory. Special thanks go out to William Scullin, Ben Allen, and Michael Papka for offering our team both financial and technical help in the preparation of this competition. Together with the sponsors, the students built a cluster of 8-nodes (with a total of 288 Haswell cores running at 2.3GHz and 1TB of DDR4 RAM and 3TB of SSD storage) connected by a dual rail 56Gb/s full-duplex Infiniband network, and with 12 NVIDIA K40 Tesla accelerators. The cluster was valued to be over $250K for the 8-nodes. Only 6-nodes were used in the live competition due to constraints on the power budget, which penalized participants for exceeding the specified 3120 Watt limit across all the hardware used.

The team consists of 5 undergrads from IIT (Brandstatter, DiBabbo, Gordon, Walters, and Ballmer) ranging from freshmen to seniors, a high-school female student (Ribordy) from GBS, and a CS faculty advisor (Dr. Raicu). The students worked really hard from June to November 2014, investing over 2500 collective hours in preparing and participating in this competition on the world stage.

Kevin Kevin Brandstatter is a 4th year undergraduate student in the co-terminal BS/MS degree in CS at IIT, as well as a research assistant in the DataSys Lab for 3 years. He is a CAMRAS scholar with a full ride scholarship. He has interned at Accenture Technology Labs in 2012, the Max Plank Institute in 2013, and Epic Systems in 2014. His research work focuses on distributed storage applications such as file systems, fault tolerance, and key/value stores.
Team duties: Team Captain, system administrator, HPCC, Enzo

Jason DiBabbo is a 4th year CS major at IIT. He is the recipient of the Collens Scholarship, a nearly full-ride award. He has interned at Commonwealth Edison and Coyote Logistics, LLC as a software engineering intern, and has interned at Microsoft in the summer of 2014 as a software development engineer in the Cloud and Enterprise department. His passions include enterprise software solutions and distributed computing.

Team duties: Matlab


Daniel Gordon is a 4th year majoring in CS with a specialization in distributed and cloud computing. He assisted in developing a dynamic volatility calculator at an internship with the Chicago Mercantile Exchange. He is currently working on an iOS development application, and distributed applications using AWS and Hadoop, and interned with Nokia over the summer 2014.

Team duties: ADCIRC


 Ben Walters is a 2nd year undergraduate student in CS at IIT. He is the recipient of the University Scholarship, a nearly full ride award. He has worked in the DataSys lab since June 2013 working on the deployment of OpenStack on a 12-node cluster. He was an intern at Argonne National Laboratory in the ALCF division in the summer 2014. His current research project involves CUDA profiling on NVIDIA GPUs. 

Team duties: HPCC, ADCIRC


 Alexander Ballmer is a freshman at Illinois Institute of Technology. His hobbies include Linux and distributed systems. He is a CAMRAS scholar with a full ride scholarship.

Team duties: NAMD

Lauren  Lauren Ribordy is a high-school senior at Glenbrook South High School in Glenview IL. She spent the summer 2012 at the Illinois Institute of Technology (IIT) and learned the basics of Java and cloud computing. She constructed a word count program and performed latency and bandwidth tests on the Amazon AWS cloud. She presented her work and results at both DePaul University and IIT. While at IIT, she realized her interest in human computer interaction (HCI), finding that it combined her creativity and her love of computers. She is interested in the development and design of operating systems and user interfaces.

Team duties: Visualizations
Ioan Dr. Ioan Raicu is an assistant professor in CS at IIT, as well as a guest research faculty in MCS at ANL. He received his PhD from UChicago, and has worked at NASA and Northwestern prior to IIT. He is the recipient of the NSF/CRA CIFellowship and the NSF CAREER award. His research work and interests are in distributed systems, emphasizing large-scale resource management in supercomputing, cloud computing, and many-core computing.

Team duties: Coach

There were many other students and staff who helped in the preparation of the competition, namely:

For more information about the Chicago Fusion team, see their original proposal, slides, pictures, videos, and news artciles below: