by David Detweiler

Congratulations to Team South Africa on their second place finish in the Student Cluster Competition at the International Supercomputing Conference (ISC) in Frankfurt, Germany earlier this month. The students hailing from the University of Witwatersrand narrowly missed three-peating as champions.

The team was comprised of Ari Croock, James Allingham, Sasha Naidoo, Robert Clucas, Paul Osei Sekyere, and Jenalea Miller, with reserve team members Vyacheslav Schevchenko and Nabeel Rajab. Together, they represented the Centre for High Performance Computing (CHPC) at the competition.


The South African students competed against teams from seven other nations over a sleep-depriving three days. During the competition, the teams were tasked with designing and building their own small cluster computers, and run a series of HPC benchmarks and applications. In addition, the students were assigned to optimize four science applications, three of which were announced before the competition, with the fourth introduced during the event.

The competition was sponsored by ISC and the HPC Advisory Council. Each team was scored based on three criteria:

  • Performance of the HPCC benchmark run accounted for 10%
  • A suite of test applications worth 80%
  • Explanation before a panel of experts of the strategy they used and results achieved (10%)

With young people like team South Africa entering the field, the future of HPC looks brighter than ever. Congratulations on a job well done!