University of Texas at Austin

Friday, August 27, 2010

Supercomputing on the coffee maker power diet

These students will try to build a supercomputer that runs on 26 amps. They are, from left, Bethany Barrientos, Phillip Verheyden, Vladimir Coxall, Loren Micheloni, Alex Heinzmann. Jason Kilman is not pictured

These students will try to build a supercomputer that runs on 26 amps. They are, from left, Bethany Barrientos, Phillip Verheyden, Vladimir Coxall, Loren Micheloni, Alex Heinzmann. Jason Kilman is not pictured

You’re going to blow a fuse if you get too many kitchen appliances going at the same time.

So you really don’t want to plug in a power hungry supercomputer between the toaster oven and the coffee maker. Your entire zip code – or more – could go dark.

But it might work if the supercomputer used the power that three coffee makers would.

That’s what a team of University of Texas at Austin undergraduate students will attempt at SC10, the annual conference on supercomputing in November.

Their challenge is to assemble a computing cluster that runs on 26 amp, which is the same power needed to run three coffee makers.

The undergraduate students, who are working with the university’s Texas Advanced Computing Center (TACC), will compete with teams from universities from the United States and abroad.

The team that runs the most apps most accurately on 26 amps, wins.

The University of Texas at Austin team consists of computer science seniors Bethany Barrientos, Phillip Verheyden, Loren Micheloni, Alex Heinzmann and Jason Kilman; and mathematics senior Vladimir Coxall.

The team’s mentor is Byoung-Do Kim, a research associate in the High Performance Computing Group at TACC.

Read more about the Student Cluster Competition in a story written by Laura Fidelman on TACC’s Web site.

Oh, and the might want to keep one of those coffee makers handy. Just in case they have to make coffee.

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