One of the most interesting aspects of the Student Cluster Competition is the way it stresses the humans even more than the hardware. The students have 46 hours to run as many of the benchmarks as possible, so they man their equipment around the clock in order to maximize their throughput.
This was the second and last night of the competition,about 15 hours before their final results were due. Team moods were mostly quiet and subdued. The fatigue was showing on everyone, including me, as I asked the same questions over and over again. Despite my barely coherent interview technique, we learn more about the teams, their strategies, and the nature of the challenge.
In this video, I talk to hometown favorite LSU about how it feels to be one of three teams to break through the teraflop barrier – a first in SCC history.
We next visit the NNSU team from Russia – almost catching them on film watching a movie. They converted their booth into a mini Cineplex, complete with popcorn and semi-surround sound. Hey, why not? The systems were running smoothly, and the 42” LCD was just sitting there.
The next team, Colorado, was all business, working away on the benchmarks.
Same thing at Purdue; their quiet demeanor was even quieter than usual, at least on camera. Of course, this could have been because of the late hour.