As published in HPCWire.

The fourth edition of the Winter Classic Invitational Student Cluster Competition is up and running. This year, we have 11 teams of eager students representing Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) and Hispanic Serving Institutions (HSIs).

They are vying to turn in the best performance numbers on a suite of six real-world HPC-AI benchmarks and applications hosted by our slate of mentor organizations.

The Winter Classic is very different from other cluster competitions. The biggest difference is that it is a level playing field. All students receive the same training, have the same access to get their questions answered, and, importantly, will be using the exact same hardware as the other teams.

This is also a longer competition than others. It kicked off in late January and will run until the Gala Online Awards Ceremony on April 5th, and you’re all invited to that (details as we get closer).

Our five mentor partners play a key role in making this competition happen. Each mentor organization has a one-week period where they provide our teams with training and remote hardware access. They also select the application the students will run, answer student questions along the way, and will grade the results.

All of our mentors from the 2022 and 2023 competitions have returned, including HPE, NASA Ames Research Center, Oak Ridge National Laboratory, and Amazon Web Services. They are joined this year by Google, who played a big role in making the inaugural Winter Classic become a reality. We heartily welcome them back to the 2024 edition.

This competition wouldn’t be possible without the generous support of our sponsors. This year, HPE is returning as our Platinum sponsor, joined by AMD and Google in the Silver tier, and AWS, Cornelis Networks, DDN, and VAST Data in Bronze. We truly appreciate their support.

In the past four years, these competitions have been fiercely fought battles with dramatic lead changes, come from behind victories, and sudden turns of fate. Your question now has to be “hey, Dan Olds, how can I keep up with the Winter Classic and all these exciting twists and turns in the competition?”

Our breaking news vehicle is the Winter Classic Invitational Studio Update Show. This is where we’ll cover the results, the current standings, meet the teams, the mentors, the sponsors, and reveal the final results, of course. And we have plenty of fun along the way too.

We will be posting all of these shows first with our long-time media partner, HPCwire, so keep your eyes peeled for new articles from us. You can also find them, plus a lot more information, on our website, the imaginatively named We will also be posting news and links on our LinkedIn and X accounts.

Take a gander at our first Studio Update Show for the 2024 Winter Classic Season. In this episode, Dan Olds and Addison Snell reveal the mentors, sponsors, and most importantly, the student teams that will be competing in the 2024 edition of the competition.

(Note the snazzy throwback blazers and, yes, they are monogrammed with the competition logo. We also have matching coffee mugs to complete the look. We spare no expense when it comes to the Winter Classic.)

Our next episode will populate the leaderboard with the results from the first competition module, HPE mentoring the students through the HPL and HPCG benchmarks. No spoilers, but the results were historically close. Upcoming shows will include behind the scenes chats with the mentor teams, interviews with the students, and commentary from our sponsors. Stay tuned, we’ve got a wild ride ahead of us.

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