Science and Technology

Students to Work with Fastest Computers in the World

Team Venus is a group of 11 female engineering, computer science, and physics students who will be competing at the Student Cluster Competition at SC12, the International Conference for High Performance Computer Networking Storage and Analysis, this fall.

Aug 27, 2012
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A partnership between Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory (LLNL) and Pacific is presenting a group of students with the opportunity to work with some of the fastest computers in the world. Team Venus, comprised of twelve female engineering, computer science, and physics students, are working with LLNL to compete in the Student Cluster Competition at SC12, the International Conference for High Performance Computer Networking Storage and Analysis.

The competition is a real-time, 48-hour challenge to design and assemble a state-of-the-art cluster computer on the exhibit floor and use it to run scientific applications, competing to achieve the greatest performance on a limited power budget. In addition to the technical competition, students also perform an educational outreach mission by maintaining a booth on the exhibit floor.  

University of the Pacific was invited by LLNL to assemble an all-female team of talented students for this endeavor.  Named Team Venus and captained by sophomore engineering physics and applied math major Jessica Dudoff, their majors cover computer engineering, computer science, electrical engineering, engineering physics, applied mathematics, and physics. The team will be mentored by engineers from LLNL and University of the Pacific faculty, including Dr. Jinzhu Gao, Dr. Mike Doherty, Dr. James Hetrick, Dr. Jeff Shafer, Dr. Louise Stark, Dr. Rahim Khoie, and Professor Rebecca Mich. LLNL is developing a pipeline of super computer interest, knowledge, and professionals through this team. They have secured $50,000 worth of hardware for the competition and will be sponsoring a student co-op as well.

To prepare for the competition, Dr. Hetrick will begin teaching the basics of cluster computing, and the team will be working over the summer to learn the hardware and software applications required for the competition. They also plan to visit LLNL to become familiar with the cluster before it is moved to the Pacific campus.

Hosted by the IEE Computer Society and the Association for Computing Machinery, SC12 will take place from November 10 - 16, 2012 in Salt Lake City, Utah, and will draw student teams from Russia, Taiwan, and other countries. The members on Team Venus are as follows: Camila Carvajal, Theresa Cruz, Nichelle Dismer, and Caroline Dozsa, Jessica Dudoff, Lia Genovese, Kaylee Grodske, Stephanie Labasan, Phuong Pham, Hien Quang, Kathleen Shoga, and Justine Tang.