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!

SC17 Student Cluster Competition Configurations: Fewer Nodes, Way More Accelerators

November 16, 2017

The final configurations for each of the SC17 “Donnybrook in Denver” Student Cluster Competition have been released. Fortunately, each team received their equipment shipments on time and undamaged, so the teams are r Read more…

By Dan Olds

Student Clusterers Demolish HPCG Record! Nanyang Sweeps Benchmarks

November 16, 2017

Nanyang pulled off the always difficult double-play at this year’s SC Student Cluster Competition. The plucky team from Singapore posted a world record LINPACK, thus taking the Highest LINPACK Award, but also managed t Read more…

By Dan Olds

Student Cluster LINPACK Record Shattered! More LINs Packed Than Ever before!

November 16, 2017

Nanyang Technological University, the pride of Singapore, utterly destroyed the Student Cluster Competition LINPACK record by posting a score of 51.77 TFlop/s at SC17 in Denver. The previous record, established by German Read more…

By Dan Olds

HPE Extreme Performance Solutions

Harness Scalable Petabyte Storage with HPE Apollo 4510 and HPE StoreEver

As a growing number of connected devices challenges IT departments to rapidly collect, manage, and store troves of data, organizations must adopt a new generation of IT to help them operate quickly and intelligently. Read more…

Hyperion Market Update: ‘Decent’ Growth Led by HPE; AI Transparency a Risk Issue

November 15, 2017

The HPC market update from Hyperion Research (formerly IDC) at the annual SC conference is a business and social “must,” and this year’s presentation at SC17 played to a SRO crowd at a downtown Denver hotel. This w Read more…

By Doug Black

SC17 Student Cluster Competition Configurations: Fewer Nodes, Way More Accelerators

November 16, 2017

The final configurations for each of the SC17 “Donnybrook in Denver” Student Cluster Competition have been released. Fortunately, each team received their e Read more…

By Dan Olds

Student Clusterers Demolish HPCG Record! Nanyang Sweeps Benchmarks

November 16, 2017

Nanyang pulled off the always difficult double-play at this year’s SC Student Cluster Competition. The plucky team from Singapore posted a world record LINPAC Read more…

By Dan Olds

Student Cluster LINPACK Record Shattered! More LINs Packed Than Ever before!

November 16, 2017

Nanyang Technological University, the pride of Singapore, utterly destroyed the Student Cluster Competition LINPACK record by posting a score of 51.77 TFlop/s a Read more…

By Dan Olds

Hyperion Market Update: ‘Decent’ Growth Led by HPE; AI Transparency a Risk Issue

November 15, 2017

The HPC market update from Hyperion Research (formerly IDC) at the annual SC conference is a business and social “must,” and this year’s presentation at S Read more…

By Doug Black

The Betting Window is Closed: Final Student Cluster Competition Betting Odds are in!

November 15, 2017

The window has closed and the bettors are clutching their tickets, anxiously awaiting the results of the SC17 Student Cluster Competition. We’ve seen big chan Read more…

By Dan Olds

2017 Student Cluster Competition Benchmarks, Workloads, and Pre-Planned Disasters

November 15, 2017

The students competing in the 2017 Student Cluster Competition in Denver are facing a grueling 48 hour marathon of HPC benchmarks and real scientific applicatio Read more…

By Dan Olds

Nvidia Focuses Its Cloud Containers on HPC Applications

November 14, 2017

Having migrated its top-of-the-line datacenter GPU to the largest cloud vendors, Nvidia is touting its Volta architecture for a range of scientific computing ta Read more…

By George Leopold

HPE Launches ARM-based Apollo System for HPC, AI

November 14, 2017

HPE doubled down on its memory-driven computing vision while expanding its processor portfolio with the announcement yesterday of the company’s first ARM-base Read more…

By Doug Black

US Coalesces Plans for First Exascale Supercomputer: Aurora in 2021

September 27, 2017

At the Advanced Scientific Computing Advisory Committee (ASCAC) meeting, in Arlington, Va., yesterday (Sept. 26), it was revealed that the "Aurora" supercompute Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

NERSC Scales Scientific Deep Learning to 15 Petaflops

August 28, 2017

A collaborative effort between Intel, NERSC and Stanford has delivered the first 15-petaflops deep learning software running on HPC platforms and is, according Read more…

By Rob Farber

Oracle Layoffs Reportedly Hit SPARC and Solaris Hard

September 7, 2017

Oracle’s latest layoffs have many wondering if this is the end of the line for the SPARC processor and Solaris OS development. As reported by multiple sources Read more…

By John Russell

Nvidia Responds to Google TPU Benchmarking

April 10, 2017

Nvidia highlights strengths of its newest GPU silicon in response to Google's report on the performance and energy advantages of its custom tensor processor. Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

Google Releases Deeplearn.js to Further Democratize Machine Learning

August 17, 2017

Spreading the use of machine learning tools is one of the goals of Google’s PAIR (People + AI Research) initiative, which was introduced in early July. Last w Read more…

By John Russell

GlobalFoundries Puts Wind in AMD’s Sails with 12nm FinFET

September 24, 2017

From its annual tech conference last week (Sept. 20), where GlobalFoundries welcomed more than 600 semiconductor professionals (reaching the Santa Clara venue Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

Graphcore Readies Launch of 16nm Colossus-IPU Chip

July 20, 2017

A second $30 million funding round for U.K. AI chip developer Graphcore sets up the company to go to market with its “intelligent processing unit” (IPU) in Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

Amazon Debuts New AMD-based GPU Instances for Graphics Acceleration

September 12, 2017

Last week Amazon Web Services (AWS) streaming service, AppStream 2.0, introduced a new GPU instance called Graphics Design intended to accelerate graphics. The Read more…

By John Russell

Leading Solution Providers

Reinders: “AVX-512 May Be a Hidden Gem” in Intel Xeon Scalable Processors

June 29, 2017

Imagine if we could use vector processing on something other than just floating point problems.  Today, GPUs and CPUs work tirelessly to accelerate algorithms Read more…

By James Reinders

EU Funds 20 Million Euro ARM+FPGA Exascale Project

September 7, 2017

At the Barcelona Supercomputer Centre on Wednesday (Sept. 6), 16 partners gathered to launch the EuroEXA project, which invests €20 million over three-and-a-half years into exascale-focused research and development. Led by the Horizon 2020 program, EuroEXA picks up the banner of a triad of partner projects — ExaNeSt, EcoScale and ExaNoDe — building on their work... Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

Delays, Smoke, Records & Markets – A Candid Conversation with Cray CEO Peter Ungaro

October 5, 2017

Earlier this month, Tom Tabor, publisher of HPCwire and I had a very personal conversation with Cray CEO Peter Ungaro. Cray has been on something of a Cinderell Read more…

By Tiffany Trader & Tom Tabor

Cray Moves to Acquire the Seagate ClusterStor Line

July 28, 2017

This week Cray announced that it is picking up Seagate's ClusterStor HPC storage array business for an undisclosed sum. "In short we're effectively transitioning the bulk of the ClusterStor product line to Cray," said CEO Peter Ungaro. Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

Intel Launches Software Tools to Ease FPGA Programming

September 5, 2017

Field Programmable Gate Arrays (FPGAs) have a reputation for being difficult to program, requiring expertise in specialty languages, like Verilog or VHDL. Easin Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

HPC Chips – A Veritable Smorgasbord?

October 10, 2017

For the first time since AMD's ill-fated launch of Bulldozer the answer to the question, 'Which CPU will be in my next HPC system?' doesn't have to be 'Whichever variety of Intel Xeon E5 they are selling when we procure'. Read more…

By Dairsie Latimer

IBM Advances Web-based Quantum Programming

September 5, 2017

IBM Research is pairing its Jupyter-based Data Science Experience notebook environment with its cloud-based quantum computer, IBM Q, in hopes of encouraging a new class of entrepreneurial user to solve intractable problems that even exceed the capabilities of the best AI systems. Read more…

By Alex Woodie

How ‘Knights Mill’ Gets Its Deep Learning Flops

June 22, 2017

Intel, the subject of much speculation regarding the delayed, rewritten or potentially canceled “Aurora” contract (the Argonne Lab part of the CORAL “ Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

  • arrow
  • Click Here for More Headlines
  • arrow
Share This