The Winter Classic is unique among student cluster competitions in that it exclusively features student teams from Historically Black Colleges & Universities (HBCUs) and Hispanic Serving Institutions (HSIs). The format of the competition is different as well:  Student teams spend a virtual week with each of four mentor organizations in turn who teach them how to use their cluster and how to run the mentor-selected competition application. After the training, the teams spend the rest of the week running and tuning the application to get the best performance possible. At the end of the week, teams turn in their best application score for evaluation by the mentors.

During this ten-week competition students get hands-on experience with real supercomputers running real HPC-AI applications. At the end of the competition, the students will be able to say that they have run, characterized, and optimized HPC-AI applications on four different supercomputers.

It Changes Lives

The large majority of students in the Winter Classic didn't know that HPC was a "thing" until they started doing it in our competition. Their universities typically don't have HPC resources or courses. After students complete the Winter Classic, the majority of them actively pursue careers in HPC-oriented positions.

Here are some thoughts from some of our former student competitors; they do the best job of telling the story and how the Winter Classic has impacted their lives.





More student thoughts....

"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."

"Before I participated in the competition I have 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."

"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." 

"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!"

"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."

"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."

"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."

Audience Engagement

Our content reaches the hard-to-target HPC-AI Community

  • Students, universities, mentors, and sponsors received focused attention throughout the 3-month long event.
  • Full PR and social media support includes videos and articles in HPCwire, all major social media platforms, and our dedicated website.
    • "Meet the Team" and "Team Check In" video interviews with students
    • "Meet the Mentors" and "Meet the Sponsor" features showcasing mentor/sponsor organizations
    • 2024 Winter Classic Studio Update Show featuring Dan Olds and Addison Snell breaks down all cluster competition news in a SportsCenter-like format.
    • Videos feature sponsor logos
    • More than two dozen shows per competition season
  • Social media reach
    • 30,000 unique visitors to the Winter Classic Invitational website in the first 7 months of 2023
    • Over 20,000 combined followers across all major social media platforms

Sponsor Benefits

Guest Appearances on the Winter Classic Studio Update Show. Weekly show hosted by Addison Snell and Dan Olds, featured on HPCwire, the competition YouTube channel, and the Winter Classic website.

Branding on Studio Update show Episodes

Sponsor landing page on competition website

Winter Classic Logo for use on sponsor's website and other communications

Social Media promotion, cross pollination

Branding on competition website

Virtual Job Fair, opportunity to give live presentation to students, can include breakout rooms for Q&A

Resume Book, first look at student competitors for recruiting. We can also connect sponsors with individual students who have specific skills/interests

Sponsor Tiers at a Glance

Interested in learning more? Hit the button below and we'll be in touch....