alcesflight logo horz text
Business as usual CIUK

CIUK Student Cluster Competition starts off in EYPC fashion

With the Alces Flight team going first in the student cluster competition, and going in on public cloud, they chose to go epic… quite literally.

“As this was CIUK’s first ever cluster challenge we really wanted to give the students something special to launch for their first challenge, which is why we choose to construct the cluster environment on Microsoft Azure with the latest AMD EPYC2 (Rome) series of processors,” said Cristin Merritt, Program Manager for Cloud HPC at Alces Flight. “For us, pulling together this cluster environment was almost entirely automated. In fact, it’s in this ephemeral project space that cloud really shines for HPC in terms of both cost and time to science. We are excited that the students could have access to technology that is shaping the future of all HPC builds right at the start of this event. For the duration of the challenge, the cluster cost less than £65 to run — easily within reach of even the tightest research budget!”.

The cluster environment was created using the OpenFlightHPC open-source HPC toolkit and includes the Slurm job scheduler. The full cluster build included an AMD EPYC2 login node, 8 x compute nodes each with AMD EPYC 7002-series CPUs and 480GB RAM (960 cores total), connected to an Nvidia Mellanox HDR200 Infiniband interconnect. A shared cluster user filesystem mounted on all nodes with students able to submit their test jobs for execution during the challenge.

“At Alces we build HPC solutions of all shapes and sizes using the best available hardware and cloud products for our customers. For this project it was all about giving the students the absolute best head-start as they go into their 8 weeks of competition. We wish the teams luck and can’t wait to find out the winner.”

The overall winning group will be sponsored to attend as a competing student cluster team at ISC’21 in Frankfurt. Topping the leaderboard for the Alces Flight challenge was Durham University.

If you want to learn more about the CIUK Cluster Challenge or register for their free event on December 3rd — CLICK HERE.

If you’d like to find out more about how Alces Flight builds, manages, and grows HPC solutions of all sizes visit us at

Wait, there’s more...

Discover our other blog posts