Fourteen international STEM teams will compete using custom design HPC systems, wrestling with the objective of achieving the highest performance across a series of HPC benchmarks and applications under strict power constraints.
Applying a co-design approach, E4 assembled a very effective platform based on three specifications of Universitat Politècnica de Catalunya (UPC): an Arm cluster, powered by 8 dual-socket Marvell ThunderX2 nodes connected via the EDR Infiniband High Speed switch. The compact 28U standard rack includes compute nodes, switches and liquid cooling. The liquid cooling is a mandatory feature because it allows the system to reach a higher energy efficiency.
The cluster is based on the Marvell ThunderX2 processor, the second generation of Marvell's Armv8-A based server processors, optimized to deliver the highest computational performance along with balanced IO connectivity, memory bandwidth and capacity. This, in combination with the low power consumption, energy efficiency and rich features of Arms architecture, creates an environment that is well suited to run computationally intensive HPC workloads and is ideal for the team to run an effective competition.
"E4 is honoured to support the SCC and is committed in encouraging new generations on such a kind of initiative", stated Cosimo Gianfreda, CTO at E4 Computer Engineering. "We see in these students the same passion we have for HPC and this is very rewarding for a company like E4. Besides, our experience on Arm-based architectures and the collaboration with partners like Marvell has always made the difference."
"The relationship between the Barcelona Supercomputing Center (BSC) and E4 supporting the SCC experience is based on solid ground and it goes far beyond the pure business", stated Filippo Mantovani, advisor of the Barcelona team. "We are both well aware of the importance of a high-level education in HPC and committed to promote it. Such HPC education requires state-of-the-art technology coming from top-notch HPC industry, and this is why the partnership among BSC, E4 and Marvell is so important for the team."
"The ISC Student Cluster Competition provides an inspiring, hands-on opportunity for the next generation of engineering talent to be part of at an exciting juncture in the HPC industry", stated Larry Wikelius, vice president of Ecosystem and Partner Enabling at Marvell Semiconductor Inc. "We are honoured to collaborate with E4 once again to enable a compelling, high performance experience that brings the Marvell ThunderX2 processor technology that powers the worlds fastest Arm-based supercomputer into the hands of these students."
This year, a special thanks goes also to Cineca, the Italian supercomputing centre, who accepted to grant the use of the Marvell ThunderX2-based cluster assembled by E4 and operational in their premises.