CARC team travels to Denver for supercomputing conference

By Mariah Rosales

In November 2023, the Center for Advanced Research Computing (CARC) sent a team to SC23, formally known as thInternational Conference for High Performance Computing, Networking, Storage, and Analysis. The conference was held at the Colorado Convention Center in Denver, CO.


Teams from around the world gathered to compete in the SC23 international Student Cluster Competition, including The Roadrunners from The University of New Mexico (UNM). The competition was a non-stop 48-hour challenge where the students created and enhanced small computer clusters, practiced using scientific programs, and improved their chosen systems using smarter methods.

The Roadrunners received internship offers from national labs and their information was taken by various recruiters throughout the six-day conference. Penguin Solutions, one of the teams’ sponsors, has said that they will continue sponsoring them due to the hard work and dedication they showed at this year's competition. A total of 11 teams competed in this year's challenge; The Roadrunners were one of three first-year teams along with New York University and the University of Kansas. ETH Zürich University from Zürich, Switzerland took first place in this year’s competition and Peking University from Beijing, China took top spot in the high performance linpack benchmark.

UNM Research Assistant Professor Matthew Fricke recruited the student group back in February to compete in their first competition, the Winter Classic Invitational Student Cluster Competition. Regarding SC23’s competition, Fricke says, “Our goals were met which is the most important thing.” He continues, “Taking part in the competition and experiencing what it’s like for the first time is impressive, I think they did a great job.”

One of Fricke’s goals was not only to kickstart UNM student representation at this competition, but to also gain valuable feedback from the students’ experience so that he can grow and improve his support for the team. 

The Roadrunners are eyeing their next opportunity at the International Supercomputing Conference, which will take place in May 2024 in Hamburg, Germany.

anneliese-ward-participating-in-scinet-photo-1.pngCARC Research Computing Facilitator and UNM graduate student Anneliese Ward participated in SC23 as a part of SCinet. SCinet is a team of industry, academia, and government experts who volunteer to design, build, and administer the network which powers internet connectivity at the conference each year for the hundreds of vendors and exhibitors and thousands of attendees.

This year, they reached top internet speeds of 6.71 TB per second - almost 250,000 times faster than typical US households. In order to facilitate this, the SCinet team laid nearly 13 miles of fiber optic cabling used to provide high-speed internet to attendees for demonstrations, spliced and repaired fiber cables that broke, and set up Decentralized Network Operation Centers at various corners of the convention hall.

"SCinet was one of the greatest experiences of my life. Not only did I get to work with an amazing cohort of people from around the world, but I got a ton of hands-on experience in networking and best practices.” says Ward. “I have already identified a handful that might be helpful in improving my handling of fiber in the CARC machine room, while other aspects were simply cool to better understand and might allow me to weigh in on and understand larger networking conversations at UNM."

The CARC exhibition booth served as a showcase for displaying UNM’s computational research accomplishments. The booth showcased a new banner display featuring CARC’s mission and close partners, along with digital posters spotlighting a variety of research projects completed using CARC's resources. Featured projects include students utilizing CARC resources through parallel processing course, a groundbreaking computational model called Spatial Immune Model of Coronavirus, concern about rising wildfire threats to southwestern U.S. forests, and many more.

unm-carc-sc23-booth-display-photo-1.pngYear after year, the International Conference for High Performance Computing, Networking, Storage, and Analysis opens a window of opportunities for many, from researchers to vendors, and students to universities. The staff at CARC gain valuable information and opportunities from attending this conference each year and will continue participating to grow CARC’s ability to support the computational research community at UNM.