Welcoming the new Members

5/26/2024 | Hannah Osswald

On Thursday, 11th April, 06:18, seventeen tired people met at Zurich HB to embark on the long journey via the scenic route to Lugano to visit CSCS, the Swiss National Supercomputing Centre where our clusters are located. From the train, we were able to admire sparkling lakes, snow-capped mountains and even one or the other cow. Despite the early hours most members were in a pretty talkative mood and the journey was a good opportunity for old and new members to get to know each other.

To get the day started new members were introduced to fundamental tools and concepts of High Performance Computing, such as Vim, SSH and the setup of clusters. These talks were held by the more experienced members of the team which presented a nice introduction to what is to come in the following weeks and months.

Afterwards it was time to go for lunch. Since we were in Lugano it was an easy choice to go and eat pizza and everyone seemed to enjoy it. This was also a good opportunity to clarify any questions about the team and the work that is done.

Newly energised, there were more talks to be listened to for example about cluster management and scheduling. The new members also got introduced to Hussein Harake, the teams advisor from CSCS and someone with years of experience in the field. He not only held a small introduction but also gave a small talk about the fundamental concepts of HPC and the work of the team.

A highlight of the day was the visit to the server room of CSCS, where Switzerland's most powerful supercomputers are located. We not only got to see the brand new ALPS infrastructure and the clusters the team is currently running applications on but were also able to see the electricity and cooling systems. The cooling system in particular is very impressive, pumping 760 liters of water from Lake Lugano per second to cool the clusters.

Sadly, the remaining presentations had to be cut short because it was time to rush back to the train station and catch the train back to Zurich.

We once again passed tons of beautiful Swiss landscapes but after a full day of intensive workshops and a great amount of new information getting thrown at the new members we took some the time to sleep, listen to music or chat about ETH and life (which is also ETH).

It was a very successful day where everyone was able to gather tons of information and impressions. Hopefully, it will only be the first step in another fun and active year of Team RACKlette.

Special thanks to CSCS for hosting and Hussein Harake for showing us around and taking time for us.