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Durham University


Student Cluster Competition

Our mission

We will send a team to the CIUK 2020 Cluster Challenge. For this, we set up a Durham team training hard for the challenge; supported by our coaches and our partners.

The rules are as follows: The team will be given access to a bare metal supercomputer in the cloud at certain points in time. Every week or two, access will be provided by a different company, i.e. you'll get a different machine. While you will be allowed to log in remotely, there will be almost no infrastructure besides a very basic operating system. At the end of the slot that is assigned to your team, you will have to run some (given) benchmarks, i.e. some applications, within a fixed time frame (2hrs typically). The goal is to run as many of these benchmarks as possible in the time window.

A typical agenda thus looks as follows:

  • Install the basic software stack, i.e. all drivers and tools you need.
  • Install the application of interest.
  • Install a scheduler to ensure that you squueze out the most of your final benchmarking time window.
  • Start to do system analysis (measure performance) and tweak the software stack.
  • Start to do some performance analysis to tweak the application code.

CIUK Cluster Challenge is a first-timer. So we do not have yet any material and experience that we can present. You might however want to study some of the other cluster challenges out there from last year's ISC for example.


We currently have a team of eight students. As the 2020 cluster challenge has started already, we do still accept new team members though we become a little bit picky. Contact us if you are interested to hop on the rolling train.

Edward J. Barbera

Sami Haidar-Wehbe

Adam R. Greenbank

Sarah E. Chapman

Daniel Nagy

Peter J. Noble

Charlie Galvin

Jack F.B. Slingsby

Details about the CIUK Student Cluster Competition can be found here!


Our team is coached/mentored by Holger Schulz who is, in his free time, working with Tobias Weinzierl on the ExCALIBUR ExaClaw project.