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Event Type
Virtual Student Cluster Competition
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TimeThursday, 19 November 20208:30am - 5pm EDT
LocationPoster Module
DescriptionFriedrich-Alexander-University (FAU) has a rich history concerning student cluster competitions. Teams from FAU have managed to qualify for multiple contests in the US, Europe, and Asia. One of their biggest accomplishments was the LINPACK awards at ISC17 and ISC18. This was possible thanks to our sponsor HPE, who has reliably supplied our teams with the necessary hardware throughout the years and who will also sponsor our team this year.

Although this year’s team will consist of all-new participants, we are confident that we will be successful since we can draw on the vast experience of FAU’s past participants as well as our team’s adviser Johannes Hofmann. With his expertise in building up a well-prepared team we can overcome the challenging circumstances due to COVID-19. To address health-related issues, our team includes a backup.

Most team members are studying computer science, where everyone has to cover basic subjects, especially about parallel and hardware-oriented programming as well as computer architecture. Moreover, as students advance in their major, they can choose from a variety of specializations, which helps to look at the problems from different points of view. We also have one medical engineering student. His experience might be useful in this year’s reproducibility challenge, being a CT reconstruction algorithm.

To have the best foundation for a participation, we also considered the soft skills and experience with other projects everyone had. We have former and current tutors who are not only experts in their subject but also in explaining complex issues. Another student co-founded a startup consisting of eight software developers, gaining project management skills experience. He also exposed at fairs and pitched in front of investors, which will be useful at the competition to represent our team. Someone else improved their knowledge in algorithm design and implementation by participating in competitive programming contests.

We are highly motivated for a conference combining traveling, social interaction and a team competition. It is a rare and exciting chance to get a glimpse of a research field, which is not easily accessible for students in Germany. Everyone is eager to apply the theory learned in lectures and gain practical knowledge in solving hardware optimization problems. Furthermore, it is a unique opportunity to get in contact with international students, making new friends and professional contacts. Likewise getting an impression of the current state of high-performance computing in industry and research is very exciting.

As an outcome, we love the opportunity to work with state-of-the-art technology and push it to its limits. This know-how could turn out to be useful. Some senior students proved that, as they were able to use the event as a stepping stone for internships and jobs at NVIDIA and Intel. We hope to get the same chance. Moreover, having the possibility to test our knowledge in an international competition would definitely be outstanding in our resumes, because we improve skills like working under pressure and organizing in a team as well as our know-how about clusters and cloud computing.
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