As these ASC17 articles started to hit The Register, a couple of comments indicated that some readers might be missing the point of these student cluster competitions:
“So the newcomers won because they had two more NVIDIA GPUs installed. Who would have thought?”
“Gosh, I wonder how they can do better next year?”
“….the competition would be mostly about deferring your purchasing decisions until the last minute (to get the shiniest new things in your box), so what’s the point?”
Several commenters pointed out that the key to the competition is the 3,000 watt power cap; however, it’s the teams’ hardware choices and expertise in design, tuning, and optimizing applications that make the difference.
Fortunately, we have a video with one of the ASC17 coaches, who makes these points very eloquently. Dr. Maciej Cytowski from the University of Warsaw is the coach of Team Warsaw, and in the video he discusses how the competition has had a big impact on his team.
Dr. Cytowski says that his team has made great strides during the competition, learning much more about real-world computing than is possible in the classroom.
And he’s done a damned good job with Team Warsaw. They were one of the big surprises at ASC17, shocking cluster competition aficionados by grabbing second place in the LINPACK competition.
Next up, we’ll cover who won what and why in our comprehensive ASC17 results coverage.