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!

Intel Reorgs HPC Group, Creates Two ‘Super Compute’ Groups

October 15, 2021

Following on changes made in June that moved Intel’s HPC unit out of the Data Platform Group and into the newly created Accelerated Computing Systems and Graphics (AXG) business unit, led by Raja Koduri, Intel is making further updates to the HPC group and announcing... Read more…

Royalty-free stock illustration ID: 1938746143

MosaicML, Led by Naveen Rao, Comes Out of Stealth Aiming to Ease Model Training

October 15, 2021

With more and more enterprises turning to AI for a myriad of tasks, companies quickly find out that training AI models is expensive, difficult and time-consuming. Finding a new approach to deal with those cascading challenges is the aim of a new startup, MosaicML, that just came out of stealth... Read more…

NSF Awards $11M to SDSC, MIT and Univ. of Oregon to Secure the Internet

October 14, 2021

From a security standpoint, the internet is a problem. The infrastructure developed decades ago has cracked, leaked and been patched up innumerable times, leaving vulnerabilities that are difficult to address due to cost Read more…

SC21 Announces Science and Beyond Plenary: the Intersection of Ethics and HPC

October 13, 2021

The Intersection of Ethics and HPC will be the guiding topic of SC21's Science & Beyond plenary, inspired by the event tagline of the same name. The evening event will be moderated by Daniel Reed with panelists Crist Read more…

Quantum Workforce – NSTC Report Highlights Need for International Talent

October 13, 2021

Attracting and training the needed quantum workforce to fuel the ongoing quantum information sciences (QIS) revolution is a hot topic these days. Last week, the U.S. National Science and Technology Council issued a report – The Role of International Talent in Quantum Information Science... Read more…

AWS Solution Channel

Cost optimizing Ansys LS-Dyna on AWS

Organizations migrate their high performance computing (HPC) workloads from on-premises infrastructure to Amazon Web Services (AWS) for advantages such as high availability, elastic capacity, latest processors, storage, and networking technologies; Read more…

Eni Returns to HPE for ‘HPC4’ Refresh via GreenLake

October 13, 2021

Italian energy company Eni is upgrading its HPC4 system with new gear from HPE that will be installed in Eni’s Green Data Center in Ferrera Erbognone (a province in Pavia, Italy), and delivered “as-a-service” via H Read more…

Intel Reorgs HPC Group, Creates Two ‘Super Compute’ Groups

October 15, 2021

Following on changes made in June that moved Intel’s HPC unit out of the Data Platform Group and into the newly created Accelerated Computing Systems and Graphics (AXG) business unit, led by Raja Koduri, Intel is making further updates to the HPC group and announcing... Read more…

Royalty-free stock illustration ID: 1938746143

MosaicML, Led by Naveen Rao, Comes Out of Stealth Aiming to Ease Model Training

October 15, 2021

With more and more enterprises turning to AI for a myriad of tasks, companies quickly find out that training AI models is expensive, difficult and time-consuming. Finding a new approach to deal with those cascading challenges is the aim of a new startup, MosaicML, that just came out of stealth... Read more…

Quantum Workforce – NSTC Report Highlights Need for International Talent

October 13, 2021

Attracting and training the needed quantum workforce to fuel the ongoing quantum information sciences (QIS) revolution is a hot topic these days. Last week, the U.S. National Science and Technology Council issued a report – The Role of International Talent in Quantum Information Science... Read more…

Eni Returns to HPE for ‘HPC4’ Refresh via GreenLake

October 13, 2021

Italian energy company Eni is upgrading its HPC4 system with new gear from HPE that will be installed in Eni’s Green Data Center in Ferrera Erbognone (a provi Read more…

The Blueprint for the National Strategic Computing Reserve

October 12, 2021

Over the last year, the HPC community has been buzzing with the possibility of a National Strategic Computing Reserve (NSCR). An in-utero brainchild of the COVID-19 High-Performance Computing Consortium, an NSCR would serve as a Merchant Marine for urgent computing... Read more…

UCLA Researchers Report Largest Chiplet Design and Early Prototyping

October 12, 2021

What’s the best path forward for large-scale chip/system integration? Good question. Cerebras has set a high bar with its wafer scale engine 2 (WSE-2); it has 2.6 trillion transistors, including 850,000 cores, and was fabricated using TSMC’s 7nm process on a roughly 8” x 8” silicon footprint. Read more…

What’s Next for EuroHPC: an Interview with EuroHPC Exec. Dir. Anders Dam Jensen

October 7, 2021

One year after taking the post as executive director of the EuroHPC JU, Anders Dam Jensen reviews the project's accomplishments and details what's ahead as EuroHPC's operating period has now been extended out to the year 2027. Read more…

University of Bath Unveils Janus, an Azure-Based Cloud HPC Environment

October 6, 2021

The University of Bath is upgrading its HPC infrastructure, which it says “supports a growing and wide range of research activities across the University.” Read more…

Ahead of ‘Dojo,’ Tesla Reveals Its Massive Precursor Supercomputer

June 22, 2021

In spring 2019, Tesla made cryptic reference to a project called Dojo, a “super-powerful training computer” for video data processing. Then, in summer 2020, Tesla CEO Elon Musk tweeted: “Tesla is developing a [neural network] training computer... Read more…

Enter Dojo: Tesla Reveals Design for Modular Supercomputer & D1 Chip

August 20, 2021

Two months ago, Tesla revealed a massive GPU cluster that it said was “roughly the number five supercomputer in the world,” and which was just a precursor to Tesla’s real supercomputing moonshot: the long-rumored, little-detailed Dojo system. Read more…

Esperanto, Silicon in Hand, Champions the Efficiency of Its 1,092-Core RISC-V Chip

August 27, 2021

Esperanto Technologies made waves last December when it announced ET-SoC-1, a new RISC-V-based chip aimed at machine learning that packed nearly 1,100 cores onto a package small enough to fit six times over on a single PCIe card. Now, Esperanto is back, silicon in-hand and taking aim... Read more…

CentOS Replacement Rocky Linux Is Now in GA and Under Independent Control

June 21, 2021

The Rocky Enterprise Software Foundation (RESF) is announcing the general availability of Rocky Linux, release 8.4, designed as a drop-in replacement for the soon-to-be discontinued CentOS. The GA release is launching six-and-a-half months... Read more…

US Closes in on Exascale: Frontier Installation Is Underway

September 29, 2021

At the Advanced Scientific Computing Advisory Committee (ASCAC) meeting, held by Zoom this week (Sept. 29-30), it was revealed that the Frontier supercomputer is currently being installed at Oak Ridge National Laboratory in Oak Ridge, Tenn. The staff at the Oak Ridge Leadership... Read more…

Intel Completes LLVM Adoption; Will End Updates to Classic C/C++ Compilers in Future

August 10, 2021

Intel reported in a blog this week that its adoption of the open source LLVM architecture for Intel’s C/C++ compiler is complete. The transition is part of In Read more…

Hot Chips: Here Come the DPUs and IPUs from Arm, Nvidia and Intel

August 25, 2021

The emergence of data processing units (DPU) and infrastructure processing units (IPU) as potentially important pieces in cloud and datacenter architectures was Read more…

AMD-Xilinx Deal Gains UK, EU Approvals — China’s Decision Still Pending

July 1, 2021

AMD’s planned acquisition of FPGA maker Xilinx is now in the hands of Chinese regulators after needed antitrust approvals for the $35 billion deal were receiv Read more…

Leading Solution Providers

Contributors

HPE Wins $2B GreenLake HPC-as-a-Service Deal with NSA

September 1, 2021

In the heated, oft-contentious, government IT space, HPE has won a massive $2 billion contract to provide HPC and AI services to the United States’ National Security Agency (NSA). Following on the heels of the now-canceled $10 billion JEDI contract (reissued as JWCC) and a $10 billion... 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…

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…

Quantum Roundup: IBM, Rigetti, Phasecraft, Oxford QC, China, and More

July 13, 2021

IBM yesterday announced a proof for a quantum ML algorithm. A week ago, it unveiled a new topology for its quantum processors. Last Friday, the Technical Univer Read more…

The Latest MLPerf Inference Results: Nvidia GPUs Hold Sway but Here Come CPUs and Intel

September 22, 2021

The latest round of MLPerf inference benchmark (v 1.1) results was released today and Nvidia again dominated, sweeping the top spots in the closed (apples-to-ap Read more…

Frontier to Meet 20MW Exascale Power Target Set by DARPA in 2008

July 14, 2021

After more than a decade of planning, the United States’ first exascale computer, Frontier, is set to arrive at Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL) later this year. Crossing this “1,000x” horizon required overcoming four major challenges: power demand, reliability, extreme parallelism and data movement. Read more…

Intel Unveils New Node Names; Sapphire Rapids Is Now an ‘Intel 7’ CPU

July 27, 2021

What's a preeminent chip company to do when its process node technology lags the competition by (roughly) one generation, but outmoded naming conventions make 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…

  • arrow
  • Click Here for More Headlines
  • arrow
HPCwire