Team Liv Uni take silver at the CIUK Cluster Challenge

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Congratulations to the University of Liverpool team who came second in the CIUK Cluster Challenge competition 2020.

The annual HPC conference Computing Insight UK (CIUK) launched its Student Cluster Challenge at CIUK 2020 in Manchester this December. Teams of six students, supported by up to two advisors, were tasked with completing a number of mini challenges over the weeks leading up to the conference, culminating in one final challenge during the event on 3rd December.

The Cluster Challenge provides a platform for students to showcase their skills to the UK and International HPC and AI communities. The competition focused on hardware and software optimisation on selected key applications within a 3kW power envelope.

It was a sterling effort by the University of Liverpool Team, which saw the team winning 4 out of 10 challenges, and getting a Silver medal on its first outing in a national competition, and the first time it has entered. The team comprised roughly half from the Big Data and High Performance Computing MSc and half from the Distributed Algorithms CDT. The overall winners of the challenge were the University of Durham.

The team consisted of Matthew Carter, Konstantinos Panagiotis and Theofilos Triommatis (PhD students) and Munna Alexander, Christopher Taylor and Saurabhkumar Jain (MSc students). Oisin Boyle helped with a challenge and Philip Kisarach also helped the team in the beginning. Dr Michael Bane from the Department of Computer Science advised the team throughout. 

Chris who is a student on the “Big Data & HPC” MSc programme said “The CIUK Cluster Challenge was an amazing learning experience on many levels. We had access to a variety of leading-edge supercomputer architectures and the challenges tested our skills in many different areas of high-performance computing, including some which were new to most or all of us. For example, we were given just 2 hours to produce a working quantum algorithm to solve a puzzle, which we managed to do despite limited previous experience with quantum computing techniques. A big thank you to my teammates and to Michael Bane, without whom none of us would have become involved in the challenge."

Michael Bane who supprted the team said "this is the first time Liverpool has entered such a competition, and I’m proud that the MSc and CDT students came an extremely close second after a gruelling ten rounds, particularly since the primary aim of partaking was to further learning of High Performance Computing (HPC) topics! I’m now preparing a pedagogical review paper on how to further use engagement in high profile competitions as part of the learning & teaching process.”

Image of the Uni of Liv Team who competed in the Cluster Challenge

Photo taken after the final challenge.

Top left clockwise: Kostas, Matthew, Chris, Michael and Theo.


You can find the leaderboard, cluster challenge companies, and other teams here