Post-conference update: please see the Awards page for a complete list of all awards presented at SC2000.

Runners, On Your Benchmarks...

Get Ready... Get Set...


"Speed has always been important, otherwise we wouldn't need the computer." These are the words of Seymour Cray, the father of supercomputing. In the spirit of Seymour Cray's vision, this year's HPC Games is thrilled to introduce a new and exciting challenge: The $10K Computer Challenge. Participants are being asked to build or assemble their own high-performance computing machine (or machines) worth up to $10K, and bring these machines to the SC2000 exhibition floor to compete, running a series of predetermined benchmarks. The benchmarks will exercise an assortment of metrics covering CPU performance, disk performance and network performance, and various combinations of these metrics as seen in typical high-performance applications.

Gordon Bell to Sponsor HPC Games Awards!

Gordon Bell has agreed to sponsor several cash awards for the upcoming HPC Games competition at SC2000 in Dallas.

Since 1988, Gordon Bell has recognized the most significant achievements in applying high-performance computers to scientific and engineering problems. Dr. Bell will be providing some special prizes for the HPC Games this year. The Games add a new twist to the quest for high-performance scientific computing by enforcing a ceiling on the cost of the computer hardware to be used.

There will be a "Grand Prize Winner" for the team with the best all-around benchmark performance, and there will be several other prizes for "Fastest Cluster" (best performance on parallel benchmarks), "Fastest Single Node" (best performance on serial benchmarks), and "Most Innovative" for the best revolutionary design or unique approach.

Time is short, but there is still plenty of room for more teams to join the "Battle of the Benchmarks"! Potential challengers must have a booth in the SC2000 exhibit hall, and must bring their machines to the floor to compete. However there are no other restrictions as to the design of each team's cluster.

Remember: Teams can borrow machines or have them donated, or they can pool together existing PCs, workstations or cluster nodes to assemble a system, as long as the street value as of November 1, 2000 is under the $10,000 limit.

The Benchmarks Are Finally Here!

A gzipped tar file of benchmark source code is now ready for download HERE. You may also find an updated version through the remote Web link HERE.

We have done everything we can to provide an integrated suite of benchmarks that should run on most common systems. If you experience any problems, please let us know at And have no fear, if you are ultimately unable to get one or more benchmarks to run without massive failure on your bleeding edge system, it will *NOT* be held against you. You can omit any troublesome benchmarks as long as you notify us!

Please note that some of the benchmarks require other software, which can be freely obtained from various online sources, such as MPI, PVM, and for one benchmark an HTTPD web server. You will also need both a C and Fortran compiler (there are no C++ or F90 benchmarks, whew! :-). Versions of BLAS, BLACS and SCALAPACK are provided in the benchmark distribution.

Scoring and qualification are as follows:

  1. Actual Costs or Street Value for All Hardware Must Not Exceed $10,000.00. For pre-owned or donated hardware components, effective costs will be computed using standard street replacement costs as of November 1, 2000.

  2. Costs include: All Hardware (cables, switches, CPUs, cases, racks, monitors, and keyboards). A $1000.00 software allowance is made for any and all system software, compilers, optimizers, etc. Any software costs above $1000.00 will be counted towards the $10,000.00 total machine cost.

  3. Grand Prize Scoring will be done "golf-style". First place for each benchmark will be given a score of "1", Second place is given "2", and so on with all other scores determined by the team's relative placing for the given benchmark.

  4. Highest and lowest individual benchmark scores will be dropped for each entrant. The remaining scores will be summed to produce the overall score. Awards will be given for the best performance in several benchmark categories, with a Grand Prize for the overall winner. There will also be awards for innovation, creativity, and other special achievements.

  5. Benchmarks runs can be submitted and recorded before the conference begins, starting now and up until the official end of judging during the conference. Note however that a representative set of runs, to be selected at the judges' discretion for each team, must be reproduced on the actual floor during the SC2000 exhibition. Floor timings must match submitted timings to within 5% error to validate each teams' scoring. All $10K machines must be present on the show floor to qualify.

The latest benchmark submission results can be obtained in real-time online at:

Benchmark Submission Results

So download those benchmarks and get yourself on the "big board" of benchmark competitors!

Remember that bigger is not always better, and some pretty good things do come in small packages.

Do you DARE to accept the HPC Games Challenge?

The 19th century gave us Charles Babbage. The 20th century gave us Seymour Cray. Who knows? The winner of this contest may become the 21st century's computing visionary..