SC is the International Conference for
 High Performnance Computing, Networking, Storage and Analysis

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SCC Rules and Submission Guidelines


Competition teams must be comprised of six (6) student members and a supervisor/mentor.

Student members must be enrolled at an educational institution, but MUST NOT have been granted an undergraduate degree (as of the start of the contest). High school students are also eligible and encouraged to participate, either as a team member on a college team or as a member of a team made up of all high school students.

The required supervisor must be an employee of the team’s educational institution. The supervisor is encouraged to mentor the students leading up to the competition. During the competition, the supervisor is responsible for the team at all times and must be available 24 hours a day. While the supervisor is not allowed to provide technical assistance during the competition, he/she is encouraged to run for fuel for their team and cheer during the long nights.

Team members must agree to a number of safety rules for the event. These rules are intended to prevent injury to students and to prevent damage to the facility and the equipment. Among a number of safety rules, contestants will be limited to a maximum of 12 hours per day in the contest area. A safe competition makes a fun competition!

Vendor Partners

Teams must partner with one or more vendors, who minimally support team activities by providing cluster hardware for the duration of the competition. To ensure competitiveness of the sponsored team, vendors should provide their team the cluster hardware prior to the competition for practice and preparation, ideally for one month or more. Vendor partners are strongly encouraged to provide training and interact closely with their teams in designing the computational systems. Vendors may also provide additional financial support, including travel support, booth decoration (signage, swag, and collateral material), etc.

As a vendor partner, not only will you be supporting and inspiring the next generation of HPC, but also will benefit from added exhibit floor exposure and having 6 very enthusiastic students describing your technology.

If you are a team in search of a vendor or a vendor in search of a team, please contact us immediately at to allow us ample time to facilitate a suitable match. Vendor partnerships must be solidified by the final architecture proposal deadline.


The computational hardware (processors, switch, storage, etc.) must fit into a single rack. All components associated with the system, and access to it, must be powered through the two 120-volt, 20-amp circuits, (each with a soft limit of 13 amps) for a total of 26 amps, provided by the conference. Power to each system will be provided via metered power distribution units The equipment rack must be able to physically hold these metering power strips.

Electronic alarms will be sent if the power draw exceeds the soft limit, and penalties will be assessed for excess draw and/or not responding appropriately to the issue. Other systems (such as laptops and monitors) may be powered from separate power sources provided by the conference.

The computational hardware must be commercially available at the time of competition start (Monday morning) and teams must display, for public view, a complete list of hardware and software used in the system. With the exception of spare components, all computational hardware must be present in the rack and powered at all times, even when idle. It is extremely important that the configuration may not be changed by physically turning equipment on and off.

Teams will be provided a large visual display (LCD or projector), upon which they are to continually showcase their progress through display of the visualization output from the applications and other dynamic content the team chooses. The contest area is in the public area of the conference and the intention is to attract visitors to the contest activities.

A network drop will be provided for outgoing connections only. Offsite access to the computational equipment will not be permitted. Wireless for laptops will be available throughout the convention center via SCinet. Computational hardware may be connected via wired connections only – wireless access is not permitted.

Booths will be 12 x 12 feet and back to a solid wall. Teams must fit into this space for all activities and must have the display visible to the viewing public. Since thermal issues may be a factor, teams should exhaust hot air vertically from their systems.


Teams may choose any operating system and software stack that will run the challenge and display software. Teams may pre-load and test the applications and other software. Teams may study and tune open source benchmarks and applications for their platforms (within the rules, of course).

Selection Criteria

A complete team (6 student members and an advisor) must be designated at the time of application submission. Teams must submit a proposal describing:

  • Team members (bios and pictures are appreciated but not required)
  • Why are you participating?
  • Why do you believe that you¹ve put together a winning team?
    • What sorts of diversity in skills does your team possess?
    • Why will your team work well together?
    • What experience do you and your team members have?
  • How will your team work together to tune and optimize the application set?
  • General overview of your desired cluster hardware and software configuration (i.e. nodes, cores, memory, interconnect, operating system)
  • For the showcase period of the conference, what demonstrations do you anticipate to impress and attract conference attendees?
  • Explain the commitment of the institution to educating the broader student community about the usefulness and the accessibility of High Performance Computing at your institution; explain how cluster computing is integrated in the educational curriculum of the proposing institution.

Team selection will be based on the team proposal submitted and will be judged by a panel of high performance computing experts from industry, academia, and the national laboratories.

A final architecture proposal is required of each accepted team by September 16, 2010. Failure to submit a final architecture proposal will result in automatic disqualification. The final architecture should be closely determined with vendor partner(s), taking into consideration the competition applications. Hardware and software combinations should be generally applicable to any computational science domain. While novel system configurations are encouraged, systems designed to target a single application or just HPC will generally not be favorably considered. The proposal should contain detailed information about both the hardware being used and the software stack that will be used to participate in the challenge. The detail should be sufficient for the judging panel to determine if all the applications will easily port to and run on the computational infrastructure being proposed.

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