Workshops in February

3/7/2023 | Sophia Herrmann

On a chilly Saturday morning, Team RACKlette reconvened at the CAB building of ETH to hold their first ever self-organised workshop.

The event was opened by a talk from Faveo, who started things off with a comprehensive explanantion of Spack. In a professional yet approachable manner, Faveo taught the team all the relevant basics, as well as some tips and tricks to using the package manager. It was heavily emphasized that competing at conferences isn't just about getting software to run, but about trying different configurations to maximize performance.

Faveo's Slide
Faveo's Slide

After Faveo's very informative talk, Niklas took center stage to talk about the challenges (consisting of HPL and HPCG) which he issued a week prior. Each team member was tasked with getting the two benchmarks to run, and to try and get as high of a performance as possible. Unbeknownst to the team members, the challenges had a second purpose. They were also meant to encourage asking questions and getting help when one feels stuck, as these are some of the most important skills to have in this field. After an explanation of how HPL and HPCG work, Niklas further elaborated on NUMA domains and the importance of knowing the cluster hardware layout. At the very end, he announced the winners, with Sophia scoring best for HPL and Hannes scoring best for HPCG, and both of them receiving small treats.

Afterwards, the team headed off to lunch. Opting for takeaway from a local restaurant, fun and relaxed conversations were had during lunchtime, with the elder team members talking about past experiences at previous competitions.

In the afternoon, the workshops took a more hands-on approach, with Faveo guiding everyone through their first MPI build using spack. With that, the first day concluded.

The second day, we got a guest visit from team member You, who gave an introduction to using ParaView, a visualisation software that can be used in conjuction with the applications used at competitions. Afterwards, she and Niklas gave an insight as to what the members going to ISC23 can expect and look forward to at the competition. Niklas ended his speech with a pep talk, reminding everyone that we are a team and that we are here to learn and have fun.

Niklas' final slide
Niklas' final slide

Motivated by that, everyone started to work on their applications, and by the end of the afternoon, everyone had managed to successfully compile the application they were responsible for, thus concluding the workshops on a happy note.

We thank Niklas, Faveo, and You for putting in the time and effort to teach us and for preparing all the inspiring talks. We will be sure to make them proud at ISC23!