GCS Supports Three University Teams in ISC20 Student Cluster Competition
Press Release 01/2020 –

The Gauss Centre for Supercomputing (GCS) is pleased to announce that it is repeating its role as co-sponsor of undergraduate students participating in the Student Cluster Competition (SCC) at the annual International Supercomputing Conference (ISC). The teams supported by GCS—the teams representing the Friedrich-Alexander University Erlangen-Nuremberg (FAU), the Hamburg University, and Heidelberg University—are 3 of the 14 participants qualified for the contest. Other competitors come from China, Indonesia, Lithuania, Poland, Singapore, South Africa, Spain, Switzerland, Taiwan, and the U.K.

The SCC occurs in conjunction with the International Supercomputing Conference (ISC), which was scheduled to take place in Frankfurt/Main. However, due to the COVID-19 crisis, ISC will now be held in digital form June 22–24, and the SCC will take place in remote form as an online competition, running June 1–24. Utilizing the supercomputing platforms kindly provided by the National Supercomputing Center Singapore, the student teams will be tasked to configure, code, and benchmark a series of high-performance computing (HPC) and artificial intelligence (AI) applications. Joining the global fight against COVID-19, several applications being used by scientists and researchers for fighting the virus will additionally have to be tested by the students.

In getting prepared for this year’s cluster competition, the German student teams had to cope with an unprecedented scenario. Just like HPC professionals and countless other sectors of the global economy, face-to-face team meetings and on-site-training at the university campuses have been impossible to organize. That means all the students’ preparation work has had to happen online—a format which has now been applied to the competition itself too. “Working online is the de facto standard in the world of HPC, the live event at ISC has always been a great opportunity for ‘HPC newcomers’ to actually meet a broad variety of people from all over the world and especially world class HPC experts. While this may seem less important to an experienced ISC attendee, for the students it is often the key trigger for an enthusiastic future in HPC. However, I highly appreciate the extra effort of the organizers to make this event possible, even or especially in these extremely different, difficult and busy times”, comments Alexander Ditter, advisor of team segFAUlt, representing Friedrich-Alexander University Erlangen-Nuremberg.

Despite all unplanned changes, the German teams are making the best of the given situation and even find some positive aspects in the competition’s online format. “As far as providing a basis for a fair and balanced competition is concerned, this competition will definitely be different from the past,” explains Michael Kuhn, coach of the team representing the Hamburg University. "As we all will be utilizing the same HPC platform, identical conditions will apply to all teams.” This aspect is backed by Aksel Alpay, advisor of the Heidelberg University team. “Since we all will be ‘normal users’ being granted ‘identical user rights’, minor differences in our knowledge as to how to configure, code, and benchmark the HPC and AI application tasks might eventually make the essential difference. The competition will for sure be very special, and very exciting,” Alpay says.

As in the past years, GCS supports the German SCC teams by supplying a financial buffer to cover expenses related to the competition. Additionally, GCS’s User Services and Support group was available for the students to provide training and HPC support in the lead up to the event. “We are happy to continue with our engagement to support German HPC talent,” says Dr. Claus Axel Müller, managing director of GCS. “It is very important for us to attract students to the world of HPC and foster their motivation and interest. We wish all teams success, best of luck, and lots of fun in this unique version of the annual student competition.”

The three German student teams participating in the ISC 2020 Student Cluster Competition:

Additional Information about the Student Cluster Competition at ISC20 is available at and

pdf version of this press release

About GCS: The Gauss Centre for Supercomputing (GCS) combines the three German national supercomputing centres HLRS (High Performance Computing Center Stuttgart), JSC (Jülich Supercomputing Centre), and LRZ (Leibniz Supercomputing Centre, Garching near Munich) into Germany’s integrated Tier-0 supercomputing institution. Together, the three centres provide the largest, most powerful supercomputing infrastructure in all of Europe to serve a wide range of academic and industrial research activities in various disciplines. They also provide top-tier training and education for the national as well as the European High Performance Computing (HPC) community. GCS is the German member of PRACE (Partnership for Advanced Computing in Europe), an international non-profit association consisting of 26 member countries, whose representative organizations create a pan-European supercomputing infrastructure, providing access to computing and data management resources and services for large-scale scientific and engineering applications at the highest performance level.

GCS is jointly funded by the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research and the federal states of Baden-Württemberg, Bavaria, and North Rhine-Westphalia. It is headquartered in Berlin, Germany. For more information, please visit


Regina Weigand, GCS Public Relations
+49 711 685-87261

This press release as a pdf file.