January – April Virtual Competition

2025 Winter Classic Invitational Student Cluster Competition

College students? Supercomputing? Competition? What’s not to love?

Countdown to the 2025 Winter Classic


Our Goals

Attract young new talent from diverse communities to HPC and get them hands on experience with real HPC systems and applications.

Give these highly motivated self-starters skills that will qualify them for intern and full-time positions in the industry.

Showcase their expertise, personalities, and institutions in the Winter Classic Student Cluster Competition.

The 2024 Winter Classic hosted eleven teams of students from Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) and Hispanic Serving Institutions (HSIs).

Some of these teams are veterans from the 2023 or 2022 Winter Classic, while others are completely new to these competitions and HPC.

At the end of the competition, students had learned how to build, run, profile, and optimize six different HPC/AI workloads on six different supercomputers provided by the mentors.

Click on a logo to meet a particular team. For extra credit, meet them all!

Mentors fulfill a vital role in the Winter Classic Cluster Competition. Teams run their HPC benchmarks and applications on clusters in the mentor data centers, giving the students the rare chance to use a real-life HPC system. Mentors select the application that teams will run in the mentor data center. Mentors teach the team about the application, how to build and run it, how to profile it, and give the teams tips and tricks on application optimization.

Click on a logo above and take a look at what they've done for the students in this competition.

Without our sponsors, there wouldn’t be a 2024 Winter Classic Cluster Competition, it’s as simple as that. We’re grateful for their generous support. Sponsors also actively recruit student participants for internship and full-time career positions. 

Give their logos a click to see what they're up to in HPC...




Olds Research

About the Organizers

Dan Olds started following student cluster competitions in 2010 and rapidly became a big fan. Over the years, he has covered every major competition, publishing hundreds of articles and videos in The Register, InsideHPC, and HPCwire.

Olds founded the Winter Classic Invitational Student Cluster Competition in 2020, with the first test event taking place in early 2021. In 2022, he changed the formula for student cluster competitions by bringing in HPC/AI expert organizations to train the student teams as well as provide them with cluster access. The result is a competition that gives students the real-world HPC/AI experience they need to land great jobs in our industry.

What They Say

From the Students...

"The competition was certainly a lot of work, but it showed me how even the most complex parts of computer science can be broken down and understood by anyone with enough persistence. I got a lot out of the competition, but maybe the most important thing was the confidence that I can tackle any career field that I choose."

Student Competitor

"I learned so much valuable information throughout the competition, particularly in the first week from HPE's HPC crash course. Learning HPC topics like SLURM throughout the competition set me up for success in my graduate studies, PhD research, internship at NERSC and my post-graduate school career."

Student Competitor

"Before I participated in the competition, I had no real direction in which I wanted my career to go after school. Participating in the competition and learning so many new things I have never been exposed to gave me a new outlook as to what I wanted to do. As I learned more things during the competition I definitely knew HPC was the path I wanted to take."

Student Competitor

"The competition was not easy but definitely worth every drop of sweat and the long hours we put in to learn how to build the different benchmarks, how to run them in the different HPC applications systems we worked on, profile them and optimize them.  I went from not knowing anything about HPC to having a career in it and loving my job and it was all thanks to the experience in that spring semester."

Student Competitor

"When I joined the competition, I knew absolutely nothing about HPC...My school doesn't have a degree program for HPC, but this competition gave me exactly the insight I needed on my journey to be a research scientist. Now I will be looking into going to grad school for High-Performance Computing or even Quantum Information Science and then hopefully to a lab!"

Student Competitor

"What I really enjoyed and what really boosted my confidence in my capabilities was using actual HPC hardware/software in a real-world use case. There was not a lot of fluff to it. It was hard, it was difficult, and I felt like I was banging my head against a wall at times. But it was real-world experience."

Student Competitor

"I felt like I was working in an actual job and was able to apply myself in a way I haven't been able to before. Having access to real professionals to help us out was also a real benefit towards giving us that real world experience. So having actual companies and organizations participating in hosting the competitions really is important towards showing students that this is the real deal."

Student Competitor

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Our 2024 Sponsors