The first task for the 11 teams in the 2024 Winter Classic student cluster competition was to run and optimize the LINPACK and HPCG benchmarks. As usual, the results were a mixed bag. Some teams had trouble getting out of the gate and onto the leaderboard, which is entirely normal. Other teams turned in decent scores, while some posted some truly noteworthy results.

First a little background. The HPL (LINPACK)/HPCG challenge was mentored by HPE, which means they provided system access and training for all 11 teams. And they man, did they provide training – five hours’ worth plus a live Q & A session and support throughout the week. The students had five days to optimize the two benchmarks and turn in their best scores.

LINPACK Skews High

Put yourself in the place of one of our teams, let’s say Team Santa Cruz, for example. You hear from me that your normalized LINPACK score vs. the rest of the field is 89.90 out of 100. That’s pretty good, usually an “A” grade, right? But this year in the Winter Classic, that score puts them in seventh place. Huh?

The first-place team, Channel Islands Team B, received 100 points on our scale as they turned in the highest HPL result. But the team in second, the Texas Tech Matador team was only .14% behind at 99.86 points. Fayetteville State University took down third with 99.13 points. The University of New Mexico Road runners pulled in fourth with 98.51 and the Texas Tech Red Raider team nabbed fifth with 96.10. Sixth place went to Team Prairie View A & M with 91.94 points.

HPCG:  Feast and Famine

We saw the same story in HPCG that we’ve seen in previous years. Several teams ran out of steam when it came to HPCG and could not submit valid scores. This is due to a combination of students starting with LINPACK and then getting wrapped around the axle optimizing it, plus teams underestimating the amount of time they need to devote to HPCG. Typical stuff in the student cluster game and no big deal.

The grouping of the top HPCG scores is tight, but not quite as tight as what we saw in HPL. The fifth spot went to Channel Islands Team B with just over 90 points. The Texas Tech Red Raiders came in fourth with a very solid 96.18 but were narrowly edged out of third by Team Santa Cruz who turned in a score worth 96.54 points.

But Fayetteville State and Texas Tech Team Matador beat HPCG like it owed them money. Fayetteville nabbed 99.85 points and the Matadors took home the top mark of 100.

The Standings

After the first competition module, it’s still anyone’s race. The Texas Tech Matadors are barely in first place, with merely a fraction of a point lead over Fayetteville State (.89% to be exact). The Texas Tech Red Raider team is only 6 points behind the leaders in third place.

Channel Island Team B holds down fourth, a bare 10 points off the lead. Team Santa Cruz and the University of New Mexico Roadrunners hold a slight lead over their rival UNM Lobo team in fifth and sixth place respectively.

The Details, The Chatter, The Banter

Find all of the above in the latest edition of our 2024 Winter Classic Studio Update Show. We give you the first look at the 2024 leaderboard, go over all the LINPACK and HPCG results, and unveil the competition standings.

Click your clicking devices on the picture below and prepare to be whisked away….


Next up from us is our interview with the HPE mentors to get the lowdown on what happened behind the scenes on the HPL/HPCG challenge. Then we’ll start rolling out team interviews, results from the NASA challenge, and much more stuff. Stay tuned….

Posted in