ASC16 Kicks Off in Wuhan, China: 16 Teams, $40k in Prizes

By Tiffany Trader

April 18, 2016

The fifth annual Asia Student Supercomputer Challenge (ASC16) got off to an exciting start this morning at the Huazhong University of Science and Technology (HUST) in Wuhan, the capital of Hubei province, China. From an initial pool of 175 teams, representing 148 universities across six continents, 16 teams advanced through the preliminary rounds into the final round, including returning champion and “triple crown” team, Tsinghua University, and the only US team to make it into the competition, the Boston Green Team.

With each iteration of the Asian Student Competition and its “sister” events at SC and ISC, the roster of competitors becomes more formidable. Many of the teams have accumulated a number of wins already, but there are new entrants too, including Hong Kong Baptist University and Dalian University of Technology, which have earned their place in this final based on their high rankings  in the preliminary rounds. There’s also a steady influx of new students, as the competition torch gets passed on.

ASC16 Boston Green Team
Boston Green Team at ASC16

The teams that HPCwire spoke with who have been here before are aiming to put that experience to their advantage. Students from the Boston Green Team (team includes students from Boston University and Northeastern) gave a lot of consideration to the cluster design process. Some of the teams brought in Nvidia Tesla K80 GPUs at their own expense, but the Boston team opted to outfit their Inspur NF5280M4 server with the standard parts that Inspur and Intel supplied, including the Xeon E5-2650 v3 processor and the Intel Xeon Phi-31S1 coprocessor cards.

We also spoke with returning champs from Tsinghua University who had a somewhat different point of view. The team leader said that because the teams will all be using similar hardware with the same CPU, they will really be forced to focus on application testing and development. “There is not that large a difference in architecture, so I think we have to beat them by software and that’s a really big challenge.”

ASC16 Tsinghua University team
Tsinghua University team at ASC16

The purpose of the contest is for each team to design its cluster for the best application performance within the power consumption mandates. Per the contest regulations, power consumption must be kept under 3000W or the result of a given task becomes invalid (except for the e-Prize, which we’ll get to in a moment). While teams can build larger clusters — and indeed some teams on the contest floor have ten nodes, the hard power limit constrains how many of those nodes can be harnessed.

Boston Green Team members Winston Chen and John Smith pointed out that at five standard nodes (with two Xeon CPUs and a Phi coprocessor) that is right at the limit for 3,000 watts. Last year at ASC15, the team had an eight node straight-CPU cluster and it hit 3,000 watts. This year, they have six Phi-accelerated nodes — five to run their workloads and a spare.

In the five years since its inception, ASC has developed into the largest student supercomputing competition and is also one with the highest award levels. During the four days of the competition, the 16 teams at ASC16 will race to conduct real-world benchmarking and science workloads as they vie for a total of six prizes worth nearly $40,000.

The application set includes HPL, HPCG, MASNUM, Abinit, DNN and a mystery application; students also must deliver and are evaluated on a team presentation. The ASC program committee is dedicated to making the program as “life-like” as possible. “ASC provides a learning platform for students to get hands-on experience through the use of high performance computers,” observes Professor Pak-Chung Ching, Chinese University of Hong Kong. “But training supercomputing talents is more than that…they should be trained to understand a complex computational problem, break it down and then use computers to solve different types of problems from a professional perspective. ASC provides a platform for students to participate in practical projects as well as an opportunity to share experience and gain knowledge.”

The Applications

ASC16 Zhejiang University with Tesla K80 800x
Zhejiang University team with Tesla K80 GPU at ASC16

Students will be tasked with running two benchmarking applications. The High Performance LINPACK (HPL) benchmark — currently used to rank the TOP500 computing systems — plus the HPCG High Performance Conjugate Gradients (HPCG), an emerging international standard that exercises computational and data access patterns that are representative of a broad range of modern applications. The authors of the HPCG embrace both HPL and HPCG as bookends that enable application teams to assess the full balance of a system, including processor performance, memory capacity, memory bandwidth, and interconnection capability.

Teams will conduct three science applications: a surface wave numerical model MASNUM; a material simulation software ABINIT; and a mystery application, which will be announced on the day of the final.

e-Prize for Deep Learning Prowess

Even if teams have opted to forego using Phis in their cluster configuration, all teams get the chance to access the Phi MIC (Many Integrated Core) architecture when they compete for this year’s e-Prize, which requires that students set up and deploy a deep neural network (DNN). After developing the DNN on a Phi platform, teams will optimize the DNN algorithm using a remote login to Phi-based Tianhe-2 nodes.

The cluster has eight Phi nodes, each comprising two CPUs (Intel Xeon E5-2692 v2, 12 cores, 2.20GHz) and three Xeon Phi cards (Intel Xeon Phi 31S1P, 57 cores, 1.1GHz, 8GB memory). The Tianhe-2 network employs a custom high speed interconnect system with a bandwidth between nodes of 160 Gbps. There is no power consumption limit for this part of the contest.

The students will apply a data set comprising more than 100,000 pieces of speech data to the DNN with the objective of training the machine to be able to recognize speech as efficiently and effectively as the human brain.

The DNN performance optimization is given the highest weight in the contest, 25 percent of the total score. The ASC committee recognizes DNN as “one of the most important deep learning algorithms in artificial intelligence and the most popular cutting-edge emerging field in high-performance computing.” The organizers cite the recent “Man vs. Machine Battle” between AlphaGo and Lee Sedol for generating widespread interest in deep learning.

After the performance testing is concluded, the teams will present the results of their work to a panel of expert judges. The team presentation is worth ten percent of their final score. The winning teams will be announced during an awards ceremony on Friday, April 22.

HPC Workshop

The event will also be host to the 12th HPC Connection Workshop on April 21, 2016. The workshop features a roster of prominent HPC experts from around the world. Jack Dongarra, University of Tennessee professor and founder of the HPL benchmark, will discuss the current trends and future challenges in the HPC field. Depei Qian, chief leader of the “HPC and Core Software” Project in the China 863 Program, will share the vision of supercomputing mapped in China’s 2016-2020 Five-Year Plan. Yutong Lu, professor at National University of Defense Technology and deputy chief designer on the Tianhe-2 project, will discuss the convergence of big data and HPC on the Tianhe-2 supercomputer. The full listing of invited talks can be viewed here.

ASC16 entrance signage 1000x
ASC16 Welcome Sign

 

ASC16 scoreboard
ASC16 scoreboard awaits results
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!

Watch Nvidia’s GTC21 Keynote with Jensen Huang Livestreamed Here, Monday at 8:30am PT

April 9, 2021

Join HPCwire right here on Monday, April 12, at 8:30 am PT to see the Nvidia GTC21 keynote from Nvidia’s CEO, Jensen Huang, livestreamed in its entirety. Hosted by HPCwire, you can click to join the Huang keynote on our livestream to hear Nvidia’s expected news and... Read more…

The US Places Seven Additional Chinese Supercomputing Entities on Blacklist

April 8, 2021

As tensions between the U.S. and China continue to simmer, the U.S. government today added seven Chinese supercomputing entities to an economic blacklist. The U.S. Entity List bars U.S. firms from supplying key technolog Read more…

Argonne Supercomputing Supports Caterpillar Engine Design

April 8, 2021

Diesel fuels still account for nearly ten percent of all energy-related U.S. carbon emissions – most of them from heavy-duty vehicles like trucks and construction equipment. Energy efficiency is key to these machines, Read more…

Habana’s AI Silicon Comes to San Diego Supercomputer Center

April 8, 2021

Habana Labs, an Intel-owned AI company, has partnered with server maker Supermicro to provide high-performance, high-efficiency AI computing in the form of new training and inference servers that will power the upcoming Read more…

Intel Partners Debut Latest Servers Based on the New Intel Gen 3 ‘Ice Lake’ Xeons

April 7, 2021

Fresh from Intel’s launch of the company’s latest third-generation Xeon Scalable “Ice Lake” processors on April 6 (Tuesday), Intel server partners Cisco, Dell EMC, HPE and Lenovo simultaneously unveiled their first server models built around the latest chips. And though arch-rival AMD may... Read more…

AWS Solution Channel

Volkswagen Passenger Cars Uses NICE DCV for High-Performance 3D Remote Visualization

 

Volkswagen Passenger Cars has been one of the world’s largest car manufacturers for over 70 years. The company delivers more than 6 million automobiles to global customers every year, from 50 production locations on five continents. Read more…

What’s New in HPC Research: Tundra, Fugaku, µHPC & More

April 6, 2021

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

The US Places Seven Additional Chinese Supercomputing Entities on Blacklist

April 8, 2021

As tensions between the U.S. and China continue to simmer, the U.S. government today added seven Chinese supercomputing entities to an economic blacklist. The U Read more…

Habana’s AI Silicon Comes to San Diego Supercomputer Center

April 8, 2021

Habana Labs, an Intel-owned AI company, has partnered with server maker Supermicro to provide high-performance, high-efficiency AI computing in the form of new Read more…

Intel Partners Debut Latest Servers Based on the New Intel Gen 3 ‘Ice Lake’ Xeons

April 7, 2021

Fresh from Intel’s launch of the company’s latest third-generation Xeon Scalable “Ice Lake” processors on April 6 (Tuesday), Intel server partners Cisco, Dell EMC, HPE and Lenovo simultaneously unveiled their first server models built around the latest chips. And though arch-rival AMD may... Read more…

Intel Launches 10nm ‘Ice Lake’ Datacenter CPU with Up to 40 Cores

April 6, 2021

The wait is over. Today Intel officially launched its 10nm datacenter CPU, the third-generation Intel Xeon Scalable processor, codenamed Ice Lake. With up to 40 Read more…

HPE Launches Storage Line Loaded with IBM’s Spectrum Scale File System

April 6, 2021

HPE today launched a new family of storage solutions bundled with IBM’s Spectrum Scale Erasure Code Edition parallel file system (description below) and featu Read more…

RIKEN’s Ongoing COVID Research Includes New Vaccines, New Tests & More

April 6, 2021

RIKEN took the supercomputing world by storm last summer when it launched Fugaku – which became (and remains) the world’s most powerful supercomputer – ne Read more…

CERN Is Betting Big on Exascale

April 1, 2021

The European Organization for Nuclear Research (CERN) involves 23 countries, 15,000 researchers, billions of dollars a year, and the biggest machine in the worl Read more…

AI Systems Summit Keynote: Brace for System Level Heterogeneity Says de Supinski

April 1, 2021

Heterogeneous computing has quickly come to mean packing a couple of CPUs and one-or-many accelerators, mostly GPUs, onto the same node. Today, a one-such-node system has become the standard AI server offered by dozens of vendors. This is not to diminish the many advances... Read more…

Julia Update: Adoption Keeps Climbing; Is It a Python Challenger?

January 13, 2021

The rapid adoption of Julia, the open source, high level programing language with roots at MIT, shows no sign of slowing according to data from Julialang.org. I Read more…

Intel Launches 10nm ‘Ice Lake’ Datacenter CPU with Up to 40 Cores

April 6, 2021

The wait is over. Today Intel officially launched its 10nm datacenter CPU, the third-generation Intel Xeon Scalable processor, codenamed Ice Lake. With up to 40 Read more…

CERN Is Betting Big on Exascale

April 1, 2021

The European Organization for Nuclear Research (CERN) involves 23 countries, 15,000 researchers, billions of dollars a year, and the biggest machine in the worl Read more…

Programming the Soon-to-Be World’s Fastest Supercomputer, Frontier

January 5, 2021

What’s it like designing an app for the world’s fastest supercomputer, set to come online in the United States in 2021? The University of Delaware’s Sunita Chandrasekaran is leading an elite international team in just that task. Chandrasekaran, assistant professor of computer and information sciences, recently was named... Read more…

HPE Launches Storage Line Loaded with IBM’s Spectrum Scale File System

April 6, 2021

HPE today launched a new family of storage solutions bundled with IBM’s Spectrum Scale Erasure Code Edition parallel file system (description below) and featu Read more…

10nm, 7nm, 5nm…. Should the Chip Nanometer Metric Be Replaced?

June 1, 2020

The biggest cool factor in server chips is the nanometer. AMD beating Intel to a CPU built on a 7nm process node* – with 5nm and 3nm on the way – has been i Read more…

Saudi Aramco Unveils Dammam 7, Its New Top Ten Supercomputer

January 21, 2021

By revenue, oil and gas giant Saudi Aramco is one of the largest companies in the world, and it has historically employed commensurate amounts of supercomputing Read more…

Quantum Computer Start-up IonQ Plans IPO via SPAC

March 8, 2021

IonQ, a Maryland-based quantum computing start-up working with ion trap technology, plans to go public via a Special Purpose Acquisition Company (SPAC) merger a Read more…

Leading Solution Providers

Contributors

Can Deep Learning Replace Numerical Weather Prediction?

March 3, 2021

Numerical weather prediction (NWP) is a mainstay of supercomputing. Some of the first applications of the first supercomputers dealt with climate modeling, and Read more…

Livermore’s El Capitan Supercomputer to Debut HPE ‘Rabbit’ Near Node Local Storage

February 18, 2021

A near node local storage innovation called Rabbit factored heavily into Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory’s decision to select Cray’s proposal for its CORAL-2 machine, the lab’s first exascale-class supercomputer, El Capitan. Details of this new storage technology were revealed... Read more…

New Deep Learning Algorithm Solves Rubik’s Cube

July 25, 2018

Solving (and attempting to solve) Rubik’s Cube has delighted millions of puzzle lovers since 1974 when the cube was invented by Hungarian sculptor and archite Read more…

African Supercomputing Center Inaugurates ‘Toubkal,’ Most Powerful Supercomputer on the Continent

February 25, 2021

Historically, Africa hasn’t exactly been synonymous with supercomputing. There are only a handful of supercomputers on the continent, with few ranking on the Read more…

The History of Supercomputing vs. COVID-19

March 9, 2021

The COVID-19 pandemic poses a greater challenge to the high-performance computing community than any before. HPCwire's coverage of the supercomputing response t Read more…

HPE Names Justin Hotard New HPC Chief as Pete Ungaro Departs

March 2, 2021

HPE CEO Antonio Neri announced today (March 2, 2021) the appointment of Justin Hotard as general manager of HPC, mission critical solutions and labs, effective Read more…

AMD Launches Epyc ‘Milan’ with 19 SKUs for HPC, Enterprise and Hyperscale

March 15, 2021

At a virtual launch event held today (Monday), AMD revealed its third-generation Epyc “Milan” CPU lineup: a set of 19 SKUs -- including the flagship 64-core, 280-watt 7763 part --  aimed at HPC, enterprise and cloud workloads. Notably, the third-gen Epyc Milan chips achieve 19 percent... Read more…

Microsoft, HPE Bringing AI, Edge, Cloud to Earth Orbit in Preparation for Mars Missions

February 12, 2021

The International Space Station will soon get a delivery of powerful AI, edge and cloud computing tools from HPE and Microsoft Azure to expand technology experi Read more…

  • arrow
  • Click Here for More Headlines
  • arrow
HPCwire