Asia Student Supercomputer Challenge Emphasizes Applications, Scalability

By Tiffany Trader

April 21, 2014

This morning at 8am local time, the final round of the 2014 Asia Student Supercomputer Challenge (ASC14) commenced in Guangzhou, China. The setting for the challenge is the Guangzhou Supercomputer Center, part of the Sun Yat-sen University campus and home to the world’s fastest supercomputer Tianhe-2.

According to its backers, ASC14 aims to “promote the fundamental and applicable technology; improve students’ ability to tackle actual problems; motivate student’ interests to study supercomputing; meet with international peers, and probably find their next step to higher education or explore job opportunities.”

Billed as the world’s largest supercomputer competition, ASC14 is organized by the Asia Supercomputer Community, Sun Yat-Sen University, and Inspur Group – a multinational information technology company responsible for building Tianhe-2 along with the National University of Defense Technology (NUDT). The HPC Advisory Council, International Supercomputing (ISC) and China HSS Lab are associate organizers and Sun Yat-sen University and Inspur Group are the primary sponsors.

Preliminary contests that ranked software coding chops were held earlier this year, resulting in sixteen finalists, including:

  • Beihang University (China Mainland)
  • Huazhong University of Science and Technology (China Mainland)
  • Nanyang Technological University (Singapore)
  • National University of Defense Technology (China Mainland)
  • National Tsing Hua University (China Taiwan)
  • Purdue University (US)
  • Shanghai Jiao Tong University (China Mainland)
  • Sun Yet-Sen University (China Mainland)
  • Taiyuan University of Technology (China Mainland)
  • The Hong Kong Polytechnic University (China Hong Kong)
  • Tsinghua University (China Mainland)
  • Ulsan National Institute of Science and Technology (Korea)
  • University of Miskolc (Hungary)
  • University of São Paulo (Brazil)
  • Ural Federal University (Russia)
  • Zhejiang University (China Mainland)

Teams are generally comprised of five students and one advisor. As per the rules of the contest, the students, all of whom must be undergraduates, shall in real time build their own mini supercomputer with a 3000w power budget and configure it to run the LINPACK benchmark plus conduct three scientific applications, and then present the results of their work. Aside from the benchmarking program, the application set involves modeling nanoscale materials, a fluid dynamics simulation, and aeronautical design. The committee will also announce a “secret” application once the contest is underway, which the students will have to configure to scale and run on the Tianhe-2 supercomputer, a heterogeneous computing machine with more than 3.1 million processors, a combination of Xeon Ivy Bridge and Xeon Phi chips.

The development of supercomputer applications and talent are main focal points for the event. The team that obtains the highest scalability and performance optimization of supercomputer applications will be awarded with an “e Prize,” which has come to represent the all-important scientific constant as well as the next milestone for computing, i.e., exascale.

The initial rounds of the contest brought together 82 universities from across Asia, North America, South America, Africa, and Europe, setting a new record for any global supercomputer competition, according to event officials. The participating universities include such standouts as Tsinghua University, which has won the consecutive champions of ASC12, ISC12, and ASC13. The Sun Yat-Sen University team obtained the best optimization results of Gromacs in ASC13. The National University of Defense Technology obtained the “Highest Linpack” award at SC and ISC three times. Huazhong University of Science and Technology won the ASC13 prize for “Best MIC application optimization” as well as the ISC13 “Highest Linpack” Award. National Tsing Hua University obtained two champion prizes at SC and won the runner-up at ASC13. The University of Western Cape and Ulsan National Institute of Science and Technology are respectively the champions of South Africa and South Korea’s National Supercomputer Challenge.

From the US, the Purdue University team is one of the 16 finalists to make it into the intense five-day finals – the only US team to do so. The “Boilermakers” are one of the most experienced and well-traveled teams and come with a solid foundation of senior leadership, although this is the first time Purdue has made it to the Asian challenge.

Currently, there are three major world-wide student cluster events (SC, ISC and ASC – aka the “triple crown”). The US-based Supercomputing Conference (SC) held the first Student Cluster Competition (SCC) in November 2007, and that event has been held annually ever since. ISC (International Supercomputing Conference) held its first SCC at the June 2012 event in Hamburg and the newest iteration, the Asia Student Supercomputer Challenge (ASC), held its inaugural SCC in April 2013 in Shanghai, China. While each site puts its own spin on the event, the main template follows that set by the SC competition.

The main way that ASC14 differs from the other SCC events is that all the teams will assemble clusters from stock parts provided by challenge organizer, Inspur. The similarity in hardware will reorient the contest toward software optimization. The first two days of the contest (Monday and Tuesday) are dedicated to system design, installation and debugging. Days three and four are “official game” days with an application roster that includes HPL, Quantum Espresso, 3D-EW (the MIC application optimization proposition specified by ASC14) and LICOM and SU2. On day four (Thursday, April 24) the teams will execute their mystery application.

On the final day, Friday, April 25, the teams will deliver their presentations. The final ranking will be comprised by scores of each contest element. The latter part of Friday will be dedicated to the closing ceremony and the award ceremony, which will be presided over by an array of distinguished speakers, including the Vice Governor of Guangdong Province and the Mayor of Guangzhou as well as the President of Sun Yat-Sen University and Senior Vice President of Inspur Group. A number of other prominent supercomputing luminaries will also be giving speeches to celebrate the achievements of these remarkably bright young people who are the true stars of this event.

All the teams who participated will have earned the admiration of their peers and the greater HPC community; however, those who make it through with the most points will be recognized with a monetary award as well. The award categories are as follows:

  • Overall Gold Winner: 100K RMB (~16,000 USD)
  • Overall Silver Winner: 50K RMB (~8,000 USD)
  • Highest LINPACK: 10K RMB (~1,600)
  • Heterogeneous computing optimization: 10K RMB (~1,600 USD)
  • Best application performance: 10K RMB (~1,600)
Subscribe to HPCwire's Weekly Update!

Be the most informed person in the room! Stay ahead of the tech trends with industy updates delivered to you every week!

Data West Brings Technology Leaders to SDSC

December 6, 2018

Data and technology enthusiasts from around the world descended upon the San Diego Supercomputing Center (SDSC) for the third annual Data West conference, which is taking place this week on the campus of the University o Read more…

By Alex Woodie

Topology Can Help Us Find Patterns in Weather

December 6, 2018

Topology--–the study of shapes-- seems to be all the rage. You could even say that data has shape, and shape matters. Shapes are comfortable and familiar concepts, so it is intriguing to see that many applications are Read more…

By James Reinders

What’s New in HPC Research: Automatic Energy Efficiency, DNA Data Analysis, Post-Exascale & More

December 6, 2018

In this bimonthly feature, HPCwire highlights newly published research in the high-performance computing community and related domains. From exascale to quantum computing, the details are here. Read more…

By Oliver Peckham

HPE Extreme Performance Solutions

AI Can Be Scary. But Choosing the Wrong Partners Can Be Mortifying!

As you continue to dive deeper into AI, you will discover it is more than just deep learning. AI is an extremely complex set of machine learning, deep learning, reinforcement, and analytics algorithms with varying compute, storage, memory, and communications needs. Read more…

IBM Accelerated Insights

Five Steps to Building a Data Strategy for AI

Our data-centric world is driving many organizations to apply advanced analytics that use artificial intelligence (AI). AI provides intelligent answers to challenging business questions. AI also enables highly personalized user experiences, built when data scientists and analysts learn new information from data that would otherwise go undetected using traditional analytics methods. Read more…

Zettascale by 2035? China Thinks So

December 6, 2018

Exascale machines (of at least a 1 exaflops peak) are anticipated to arrive by around 2020, a few years behind original predictions; and given extreme-scale performance challenges are not getting any easier, it makes sense that researchers are already looking ahead to the next big 1,000x performance goal post: zettascale computing. Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

Topology Can Help Us Find Patterns in Weather

December 6, 2018

Topology--–the study of shapes-- seems to be all the rage. You could even say that data has shape, and shape matters. Shapes are comfortable and familiar conc Read more…

By James Reinders

Zettascale by 2035? China Thinks So

December 6, 2018

Exascale machines (of at least a 1 exaflops peak) are anticipated to arrive by around 2020, a few years behind original predictions; and given extreme-scale performance challenges are not getting any easier, it makes sense that researchers are already looking ahead to the next big 1,000x performance goal post: zettascale computing. Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

Robust Quantum Computers Still a Decade Away, Says Nat’l Academies Report

December 5, 2018

The National Academies of Science, Engineering, and Medicine yesterday released a report – Quantum Computing: Progress and Prospects – whose optimism about Read more…

By John Russell

Revisiting the 2008 Exascale Computing Study at SC18

November 29, 2018

A report published a decade ago conveyed the results of a study aimed at determining if it were possible to achieve 1000X the computational power of the the Read more…

By Scott Gibson

AWS Debuts Lustre as a Service, Accelerates Data Transfer

November 28, 2018

From the Amazon re:Invent main stage in Las Vegas today, Amazon Web Services CEO Andy Jassy introduced Amazon FSx for Lustre, citing a growing body of applicati Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

AWS Launches First Arm Cloud Instances

November 28, 2018

AWS, a macrocosm of the emerging high-performance technology landscape, wants to be everywhere you want to be and offer everything you want to use (or at least Read more…

By Doug Black

Move Over Lustre & Spectrum Scale – Here Comes BeeGFS?

November 26, 2018

Is BeeGFS – the parallel file system with European roots – on a path to compete with Lustre and Spectrum Scale worldwide in HPC environments? Frank Herold Read more…

By John Russell

DOE Under Secretary for Science Paul Dabbar Interviewed at SC18

November 21, 2018

During the 30th annual SC conference in Dallas last week, SC18 hosted U.S. Department of Energy Under Secretary for Science Paul M. Dabbar. In attendance Nov. 13-14, Dabbar delivered remarks at the Top500 panel, met with a number of industry stakeholders and toured the show floor. He also met with HPCwire for an interview, where we discussed the role of the DOE in advancing leadership computing. Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

Quantum Computing Will Never Work

November 27, 2018

Amid the gush of money and enthusiastic predictions being thrown at quantum computing comes a proposed cold shower in the form of an essay by physicist Mikhail Read more…

By John Russell

Cray Unveils Shasta, Lands NERSC-9 Contract

October 30, 2018

Cray revealed today the details of its next-gen supercomputing architecture, Shasta, selected to be the next flagship system at NERSC. We've known of the code-name "Shasta" since the Argonne slice of the CORAL project was announced in 2015 and although the details of that plan have changed considerably, Cray didn't slow down its timeline for Shasta. Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

IBM at Hot Chips: What’s Next for Power

August 23, 2018

With processor, memory and networking technologies all racing to fill in for an ailing Moore’s law, the era of the heterogeneous datacenter is well underway, Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

House Passes $1.275B National Quantum Initiative

September 17, 2018

Last Thursday the U.S. House of Representatives passed the National Quantum Initiative Act (NQIA) intended to accelerate quantum computing research and developm Read more…

By John Russell

CERN Project Sees Orders-of-Magnitude Speedup with AI Approach

August 14, 2018

An award-winning effort at CERN has demonstrated potential to significantly change how the physics based modeling and simulation communities view machine learni Read more…

By Rob Farber

Summit Supercomputer is Already Making its Mark on Science

September 20, 2018

Summit, now the fastest supercomputer in the world, is quickly making its mark in science – five of the six finalists just announced for the prestigious 2018 Read more…

By John Russell

AMD Sets Up for Epyc Epoch

November 16, 2018

It’s been a good two weeks, AMD’s Gary Silcott and Andy Parma told me on the last day of SC18 in Dallas at the restaurant where we met to discuss their show news and recent successes. Heck, it’s been a good year. Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

US Leads Supercomputing with #1, #2 Systems & Petascale Arm

November 12, 2018

The 31st Supercomputing Conference (SC) - commemorating 30 years since the first Supercomputing in 1988 - kicked off in Dallas yesterday, taking over the Kay Ba Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

Leading Solution Providers

SC 18 Virtual Booth Video Tour

Advania @ SC18 AMD @ SC18
ASRock Rack @ SC18
DDN Storage @ SC18
HPE @ SC18
IBM @ SC18
Lenovo @ SC18 Mellanox Technologies @ SC18
One Stop Systems @ SC18
Oracle @ SC18 Panasas @ SC18
Supermicro @ SC18 SUSE @ SC18 TYAN @ SC18
Verne Global @ SC18

TACC’s ‘Frontera’ Supercomputer Expands Horizon for Extreme-Scale Science

August 29, 2018

The National Science Foundation and the Texas Advanced Computing Center announced today that a new system, called Frontera, will overtake Stampede 2 as the fast Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

HPE No. 1, IBM Surges, in ‘Bucking Bronco’ High Performance Server Market

September 27, 2018

Riding healthy U.S. and global economies, strong demand for AI-capable hardware and other tailwind trends, the high performance computing server market jumped 28 percent in the second quarter 2018 to $3.7 billion, up from $2.9 billion for the same period last year, according to industry analyst firm Hyperion Research. Read more…

By Doug Black

Nvidia’s Jensen Huang Delivers Vision for the New HPC

November 14, 2018

For nearly two hours on Monday at SC18, Jensen Huang, CEO of Nvidia, presented his expansive view of the future of HPC (and computing in general) as only he can do. Animated. Backstopped by a stream of data charts, product photos, and even a beautiful image of supernovae... Read more…

By John Russell

Germany Celebrates Launch of Two Fastest Supercomputers

September 26, 2018

The new high-performance computer SuperMUC-NG at the Leibniz Supercomputing Center (LRZ) in Garching is the fastest computer in Germany and one of the fastest i Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

Houston to Field Massive, ‘Geophysically Configured’ Cloud Supercomputer

October 11, 2018

Based on some news stories out today, one might get the impression that the next system to crack number one on the Top500 would be an industrial oil and gas mon Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

Intel Confirms 48-Core Cascade Lake-AP for 2019

November 4, 2018

As part of the run-up to SC18, taking place in Dallas next week (Nov. 11-16), Intel is doling out info on its next-gen Cascade Lake family of Xeon processors, specifically the “Advanced Processor” version (Cascade Lake-AP), architected for high-performance computing, artificial intelligence and infrastructure-as-a-service workloads. Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

Google Releases Machine Learning “What-If” Analysis Tool

September 12, 2018

Training machine learning models has long been time-consuming process. Yesterday, Google released a “What-If Tool” for probing how data point changes affect a model’s prediction. The new tool is being launched as a new feature of the open source TensorBoard web application... Read more…

By John Russell

The Convergence of Big Data and Extreme-Scale HPC

August 31, 2018

As we are heading towards extreme-scale HPC coupled with data intensive analytics like machine learning, the necessary integration of big data and HPC is a curr Read more…

By Rob Farber

  • arrow
  • Click Here for More Headlines
  • arrow
Do NOT follow this link or you will be banned from the site!
Share This