First Indian Student Supercomputing Challenge Coming this June

By Tiffany Trader

December 7, 2015

During June 1-4, 2016, the first ever Indian Student Supercomputing Challenge (ISSC) will take place in Mumbai, India, in tandem with the inaugural distributed & embedded-High Performance Computing (de-HPC) symposium. ISSC is being organized by the academic partners Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) Bombay and industry partners Syncthreads Computing with the official support of the HPC Advisory Council (HPCAC). The event follows in the footsteps of the Student Cluster Competitions held annually at SC in the US, ISC in Germany, and the Asia Student Supercomputer Challenge in China.

The purpose of ISSC, according to its organizers, is to introduce the next generation of students to the HPC community and its technology. The event will welcome 8-10 student teams – four to six from India and four from the international community – each team comprised of six undergraduates and a mentor. Over a three-day period on the de-HPC exhibition floor, these teams will build a small cluster computer of their own design and will run a series of HPC benchmarks and applications, as agreed upon by HPCAC worldwide and the technical committee. In line with the other student cluster contests, there will be three known applications, one surprise application plus the LINPACK benchmark run. The teams will also be required to present their findings to a panel of judges to show how fundamentally they understand the applications and results.

There will be one selection round, the criteria for which will follow a mix of SC, ISC and ASC rules. The winning teams will collaborate with vendor sponsors to get all the necessary hardware to prepare for the competition event. The challenge will follow a standard track where there is no strict limit on hardware, but teams will have to stay within the power limit of 3kW (or approximately ~13A) while running the benchmarks and applications specified.

Umesh Gupta 2015
Umesh Gupta, member of research staff, Syncthreads Computing

At SC15, HPCwire spoke with one of the main visionaries behind this event, Umesh Gupta, who was a research fellow with CUDA Center of Excellence at IIT Bombay before joining of the research staff at Syncthreads Computing. Gupta recalled his first ISC event in 2014, where he encountered the student teams and advisors who had come from around the world to take part in the Student Cluster Competition. Gupta was impressed at their enthusiasm, dedication and commitment and was motivated to work with his team at Syncthreads to start a similar program in India. Syncthreads saw the student engagement activity as fitting within India’s National Supercomputing Mission (NSM), the government initiative to address HPC challenges like training and education in India to generate niche engineers.

Eager to kick-start this event, Syncthreads formed a strategic alliance with one of the premier institutes of India, the Indian Institute of Technology Bombay, who agreed to be academic partners for the event. This was followed up with a formal proposal to have IIT Bombay host the event and it was enthusiastically accepted through the Center for Studies in Resources Engineering (CSRE). The HPC Advisory Council (HPCAC), which sponsors the HPCAC-ISC Student Cluster Competition, added its support, and the event was formally announced at HiPC in Goa, India, in December 2014.

“The student cluster competition to me is a perfect way to introduce, develop and enhance the HPC technologies in the community,” commented Gupta. “Although the phrase ‘student competition’ is prominent, the event involves participation on every level, senior mentors, faculty advisors on up to top management. Being a student researcher myself, I believe ISSC opens up an interesting and innovative platform for HPC student fraternity in India to experience computer science and computational science,” Gupta added.

Synchtreads team has been prominent in organizing this event, but they are not doing it alone. The HPC community has stepped up in a big way to support this effort. Professors Surya Durbha and B.K Mohan from CSRE IIT Bombay are heading up the organizing committee. Professor Rajat Moona, director general of C-DAC, assured strong support for the event and reached out to HPCAC and other industry partners at ISC 2015 in Germany. The ISSC Technical Committee includes Stephen Harrell of Purdue University, Kurt Keville of MIT, and Doug Smith, assistant dean for Programs and Engagement at University of Colorado, among others.

Deputy chair of the SCC at SC15 and SC16 SCC chair, Harrell acknowledged the way that Gupta has brought in resources from the other student competitions. “I think he’s doing it right and we want to help,” Harrell said. “It’s so important to get students using high-performance computing at the undergraduate level. It’s not common and it needs to be.”

Of the ten teams that Purdue has sent to student cluster challenges, Harrell has been the advisor for seven of them. He’s taken four to SC, two to ISC and one to the Asian Supercomputing Challenge, so he has a broad perspective to share with the ISSC committee. He thinks we need to have more of these competitions. His big projects are getting HPC into the undergraduate curriculum at Purdue, both in the domain sciences and in the extra-curriculum.

“It’s a tool,” Harrell said of HPC, “you wouldn’t give someone a degree in chemistry if they can’t use tools. I see it as a lab component in domain science. There are not many fields that don’t have at least some HPC requirements.”

“HPC pushes science forward and if there’s something that’s going to help the world it’s more knowledge,” Harrell shared, “and I believe science is our best tool for getting that knowledge. To me supporting HPC, getting students inspired by HPC changes the world.”

ISSC will be co-located with the distributed & embedded-High Performance Computing (de-HPC) symposium. This will be a full-fledged conference spotlighting HPC-based research in various domains along with an opportunity for HPC vendors across the world to introduce their latest products to distinguished dignitaries and students representing both academics and government institutions in India.

Along with keynotes and thematic sessions by distinguished national and international delegates, programming workshops for students, tutorials, BoFs and poster sessions, there will be special emphasis on research in HPC for energy-efficiency and low-power supercomputing.

Dr. Rhushabh Goradia, director of Syncthreads Computing, comments, “The idea of the de-HPC initiative is to bring the entire HPC community of the country, be it academics, government organizations and vendors with top HPC products, under one roof and give them a platform to collaborate and work towards solving bigger inter-disciplinary challenges. Our work goal is to evangelize HPC movement in India, and de-HPC is our first step.”

He further adds, “The agenda of de-HPC is very different from a standard conference track. For example, here we would also be focusing on expert panel discussions, thematic sessions, real-time HPC quizzes for practical problems, and also hands-on expert tutorials being conducted for students to instill the confidence in them that ‘Yes! I can utilize the benefits of HPC as a part of my research and be a part of the worldwide HPC community!’”

The call for participation and call for sponsorships are starting now and interested parties can go to or email at for more information.

“We have been approached by many HPC industry stakeholders during the conferences and competitions in China, Germany and the United, States. There is strong interest because everyone is looking forward to being part of an Indian event,” said Gupta.

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!

Mellanox Reacts to Activist Investor Pressures in Letter to Shareholders

March 16, 2018

Activist investor Starboard Value has been exerting pressure on Mellanox Technologies to increase its returns. In response, the high-performance networking company on Monday, March 12, published a letter to shareholders outlining its proposal for a May 2018 extraordinary general meeting (EGM) of shareholders and highlighting its long-term growth strategy and focus on operating margin improvement. Read more…

By Staff

Quantum Computing vs. Our ‘Caveman Newtonian Brain’: Why Quantum Is So Hard

March 15, 2018

Quantum is coming. Maybe not today, maybe not tomorrow, but soon enough. Within 10 to 12 years, we’re told, special-purpose quantum systems will enter the commercial realm. Assuming this happens, we can also assume that quantum will, over extended time, become increasingly general purpose as it delivers mind-blowing power. Read more…

By Doug Black

How the Cloud Is Falling Short for HPC

March 15, 2018

The last couple of years have seen cloud computing gradually build some legitimacy within the HPC world, but still the HPC industry lies far behind enterprise IT in its willingness to outsource computational power. The m Read more…

By Chris Downing

HPE Extreme Performance Solutions

Achieve Optimal Performance at Scale with High Performance Fabrics for HPC

High Performance Computing (HPC) is unlocking a new era of speed and productivity to fuel business transformation. Rapid advancements in HPC capabilities are helping organizations operate faster and more effectively than ever, but in today’s fast-paced marketplace, a new generation of technologies is required to reach greater scalability and cost-efficiency. Read more…

Stephen Hawking, Legendary Scientist, Dies at 76

March 14, 2018

Stephen Hawking passed away at his home in Cambridge, England, in the early morning of March 14; he was 76. Born on January 8, 1942, Hawking was an English theoretical physicist, cosmologist, author and director of resea Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

How the Cloud Is Falling Short for HPC

March 15, 2018

The last couple of years have seen cloud computing gradually build some legitimacy within the HPC world, but still the HPC industry lies far behind enterprise I Read more…

By Chris Downing

Stephen Hawking, Legendary Scientist, Dies at 76

March 14, 2018

Stephen Hawking passed away at his home in Cambridge, England, in the early morning of March 14; he was 76. Born on January 8, 1942, Hawking was an English theo Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

Hyperion Tackles Elusive Quantum Computing Landscape

March 13, 2018

Quantum computing - exciting and off-putting all at once - is a kaleidoscope of technology and market questions whose shapes and positions are far from settled. Read more…

By John Russell

Part Two: Navigating Life Sciences Choppy HPC Waters in 2018

March 8, 2018

2017 was not necessarily the best year to build a large HPC system for life sciences say Ari Berman, VP and GM of consulting services, and Aaron Gardner, direct Read more…

By John Russell

Google Chases Quantum Supremacy with 72-Qubit Processor

March 7, 2018

Google pulled ahead of the pack this week in the race toward "quantum supremacy," with the introduction of a new 72-qubit quantum processor called Bristlecone. Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

SciNet Launches Niagara, Canada’s Fastest Supercomputer

March 5, 2018

SciNet and the University of Toronto today unveiled "Niagara," Canada's most-powerful supercomputer, comprising 1,500 dense Lenovo ThinkSystem SD530 high-perfor Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

Part One: Deep Dive into 2018 Trends in Life Sciences HPC

March 1, 2018

Life sciences is an interesting lens through which to see HPC. It is perhaps not an obvious choice, given life sciences’ relative newness as a heavy user of H Read more…

By John Russell

Alibaba Cloud Launches ‘Bare Metal,’ HPC Instances in Europe

February 28, 2018

Alibaba, the e-commerce giant from China, is taking a run at AWS in the global public cloud computing market with new offerings aimed at the surging demand for Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

Inventor Claims to Have Solved Floating Point Error Problem

January 17, 2018

"The decades-old floating point error problem has been solved," proclaims a press release from inventor Alan Jorgensen. The computer scientist has filed for and Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

Japan Unveils Quantum Neural Network

November 22, 2017

The U.S. and China are leading the race toward productive quantum computing, but it's early enough that ultimate leadership is still something of an open questi Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

Researchers Measure Impact of ‘Meltdown’ and ‘Spectre’ Patches on HPC Workloads

January 17, 2018

Computer scientists from the Center for Computational Research, State University of New York (SUNY), University at Buffalo have examined the effect of Meltdown Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

IBM Begins Power9 Rollout with Backing from DOE, Google

December 6, 2017

After over a year of buildup, IBM is unveiling its first Power9 system based on the same architecture as the Department of Energy CORAL supercomputers, Summit a Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

Fast Forward: Five HPC Predictions for 2018

December 21, 2017

What’s on your list of high (and low) lights for 2017? Volta 100’s arrival on the heels of the P100? Appearance, albeit late in the year, of IBM’s Power9? 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

Russian Nuclear Engineers Caught Cryptomining on Lab Supercomputer

February 12, 2018

Nuclear scientists working at the All-Russian Research Institute of Experimental Physics (RFNC-VNIIEF) have been arrested for using lab supercomputing resources to mine crypto-currency, according to a report in Russia’s Interfax News Agency. Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

Chip Flaws ‘Meltdown’ and ‘Spectre’ Loom Large

January 4, 2018

The HPC and wider tech community have been abuzz this week over the discovery of critical design flaws that impact virtually all contemporary microprocessors. T Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

Leading Solution Providers

GlobalFoundries, Ayar Labs Team Up to Commercialize Optical I/O

December 4, 2017

GlobalFoundries (GF) and Ayar Labs, a startup focused on using light, instead of electricity, to transfer data between chips, today announced they've entered in Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

How Meltdown and Spectre Patches Will Affect HPC Workloads

January 10, 2018

There have been claims that the fixes for the Meltdown and Spectre security vulnerabilities, named the KPTI (aka KAISER) patches, are going to affect applicatio Read more…

By Rosemary Francis

Perspective: What Really Happened at SC17?

November 22, 2017

SC is over. Now comes the myriad of follow-ups. Inboxes are filled with templated emails from vendors and other exhibitors hoping to win a place in the post-SC thinking of booth visitors. Attendees of tutorials, workshops and other technical sessions will be inundated with requests for feedback. Read more…

By Andrew Jones

V100 Good but not Great on Select Deep Learning Aps, Says Xcelerit

November 27, 2017

Wringing optimum performance from hardware to accelerate deep learning applications is a challenge that often depends on the specific application in use. A benc Read more…

By John Russell

Lenovo Unveils Warm Water Cooled ThinkSystem SD650 in Rampup to LRZ Install

February 22, 2018

This week Lenovo took the wraps off the ThinkSystem SD650 high-density server with third-generation direct water cooling technology developed in tandem with par Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

AMD Wins Another: Baidu to Deploy EPYC on Single Socket Servers

December 13, 2017

When AMD introduced its EPYC chip line in June, the company said a portion of the line was specifically designed to re-invigorate a single socket segment in wha Read more…

By John Russell

World Record: Quantum Computer with 46 Qubits Simulated

December 18, 2017

Scientists from the Jülich Supercomputing Centre have set a new world record. Together with researchers from Wuhan University and the University of Groningen, Read more…

New Blueprint for Converging HPC, Big Data

January 18, 2018

After five annual workshops on Big Data and Extreme-Scale Computing (BDEC), a group of international HPC heavyweights including Jack Dongarra (University of Te Read more…

By John Russell

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