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 2015

SCC@SC15 TeamsSCC@SC15 ApplicationsThe Student Cluster Competition is an annual supercomputing competition aimed at high school and undergraduate students interested in computer systems. Students compete with clusters they designed from commercial hardware to run 5 applications for 48 hours straight to see which cluster yields the best results. This year’s applications were MILC, Repast HPC, Trinity, WRF, Linpack,  as well as a mystery app revealed before the 48-hour competition, HPCG. Awards were given for the best overall performance and best HPL benchmark performance. The Illinois Institute of Technology placed 4th in overall performance, virtually tied for 3rd place (up from 9th place achieved in 2014). 

With financial and technical support from Argonne National Laboratory and Intel Corporation, the team built a 5-node cluster with 4 Intel Xeon CPUs with 16-cores at 2.5GHz each, 1.7TB Intel NVMe PCle SSD, 512GB of DDR4 RAM per node, and quad port 100Gb/s full-duplex EDR Infiniband network, which all fit within the 3120 Watt power budget limit. The cluster was valued to be over $250K for the 5-nodes. This year, the team used less nodes with higher capacity than last year, so as to run more apps at once with larger workloads and less overhead on small workloads.  

This year’s IIT team included 5 undergraduate students from IIT and one local high school student, with help from two backup members (Kevin Brandstatter and Gina Griza) and support from 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. The team prepared for 10 months prior to the competition, with highly-involved team members dedicating time to experimentation, research, oral presentations, and weekly meetings, as well as auxiliary internships and experience with supercomputing.  


Ben Ben Walters (Team Captain): 3rd year undergraduate student in CS at IIT. He has worked in the DataSys lab since June 2013. He was an official member of the SCC 2014 team, and spent 2 summers at Argonne National Laboratory in the ALCF division as an intern. Ben's role in the competition was three-fold: tam Ccptain, system administrator, Wand the RFF application.

Alexander Ballmer: 2nd year CS student at IIT.Alexander Ballmer: 2nd year CS student at IIT. He is a CAMRAS scholar with a full ride scholarship. He was an official member of the SCC 2014 team. Alex's role in the competition was two-fold: system adminsitration and the HPC Repast application.

Adnan Haider

Adnan Haider: 2nd year student in CS on a full ride scholarship through the CAMRAS program. His research interests include distributed computing, architecture optimization, and parallel network simulation. He was a backup member of the SCC 2014 team. Adnan's duties included the Trinity application as well as the parallel filesystem.

Andrei Dumitru

 Andrei Dumitru: 2nd year student studying C on a full ride scholarshipS. He has been working in the Datasys lab since August 2014. He was a backup member of the SCC 2014 team. is duties included the MILC application.

Calin Segarceau

Calin Segarceau: 1st year CS student at IIT.T on a full ride scholarshipH His duties included both the Linpack and HPCG benchmarks. s backup duties include power management and system administration. . 

Keshav Kapoor Keshav Kapoor: 11th grade student at Naperville Central High School. He participated in an REU at IIT during summer 2015 and focused on system resource monitoring and scientific visualization.
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. Dr. Raicu's role with the team was Team Coach, and helped mentor the students throughout this competition.

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

William Scullin  William Scullin and Ben Allen are HPC Systems Administration Specialists in the Argonne Leadership Computing Facility at Argonne National Laboratory. William was the team co-coach and worked closely with Dr. Raicu in all aspects of the competition. Both Ben and William offered a tremendous amount of technical support to the students, and took the lead in securing sponsorship support from both Argonne and Intel. 
Gina Griza Gina Griza is a senior at Glenbrook South Highschool in Glenview IL. She spent several months participating in preparing for the SCC competition in understanding the science behind the applications, and helping in various activities related to visualizations.
Kevin Brandstatter  Kevin Brandstatter received his BS/MS in May 2015 from IIT/CS after being in the DataSys Lab for 4 years. He was 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. He has joined Epic Systems as a full time emplyee since the summer of 2015. He was the team captain for SCC in 2014, and used his extensive experience to help mentor this year's team, as well as offered technical support throughout the entire competition preparation.

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