Student Cluster Competition


The Student Cluster Competition (SCC) was initiated in 2007 as part of the International Conference for High Performance Computing, Networking, Storage and Analysis (SC) to immerse undergraduate, graduate and high school students in high performance computing. Student teams design and build small clusters with support from hardware and software vendor partners; learn designated scientific applications; apply optimization techniques for their chosen architectures; and compete in a non-stop, 48-hour challenge, at the SC conference to complete a real-world scientific workload while impressing conference attendees and interview judges with their HPC knowledge.


The SCC is an HPC multi-disciplinary experience integrated within the HPC community's biggest gathering, the Supercomputing Conference. The SCC is a microcosm of a modern HPC center that teaches and inspires students to pursue careers in the field. Participating students develop and apply a variety of HPC skills, and master technologies and science disciplines in order to build, maintain, and run a supercomputer.

In the real-time, 48-hour competition, teams of undergraduate and/or high school students assemble their own HPC cluster on the exhibit floor and race to complete a real-world workload across a series of applications and impress HPC industry judges. Teams of six students each are selected by TACC via a team submission process. Teams work with their advisor and vendor partners to design and build a cutting-edge, commercially available cluster constrained only by a 3000-watt power limit.


Since its inception in 2007, the Student Cluster Competition hosted at the Supercomputing conference has had broad ranging impact for students, educational institutions, industry, and the HPC community. Some of the impacts of the SCC include:

  • Promoting and developing HPC curriculum at the undergraduate level.
  • Providing excellent hands-on HPC training for the future workforce.
  • Showcasing HPC technology and its rapid development.
  • Demonstrating how HPC can be used by everyone.
  • Highlighting the interconnectedness between HPC hardware, software and applications to solve real-world problems.
  • Exposing student to HPC and inspiring them to seek their role in creating the next-generation of HPC breakthroughs.
  • Creating an opportunity for industry, national laboratories and academic institutions to work collaboratively to build the HPC community


Nick Thorne
Research Engineering/ Scientist Associate II, HPC Large Scale Group


"Student Cluster Competition 2016 reproducibility challenge: Genomic partitioning with ParConnect," Rainier Ababao, Joe A.Garcia, JosephVoss, W. Cyrus Proctor, ToddEvans, Parallel Computing, July 2017

Funding Source

Science and Technology Affiliates for Research (STAR) program