ASC17 Makes Splash at Wuxi Supercomputing Center

By Tiffany Trader

April 24, 2017

A record-breaking twenty student teams plus scores of company representatives, media professionals, staff and student volunteers transformed a formerly empty hall inside the Wuxi Supercomputing Center into a bustling hub of HPC activity, kicking off day one of the 2017 Asia Student Supercomputer Challenge (ASC17) on Monday, April 24, 2017, in Wuxi, China.

As the sun rose higher in the sky over the beautiful Taihu Lake and with the world’s fastest TaihuLight supercomputer under the same roof, the students worked diligently through the day and into the evening to unbox their equipment and build their clusters.

From an initial pool of 230 teams, representing schools from around the globe, these 20 teams earned their spots in the final round. Among them are former champions, such as Huazhong University of Science and Technology, Shanghai Jiao Tong University, and “triple crown” winners Tsinghua University, but for seven of the teams, ASC17 marks their first time as competition finalists. Contest officials are particularly proud of the event’s reach to cultivate young talent.

In the six 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 20 teams at ASC17 will race to conduct real-world benchmarking and science workloads as they vie for a total of six prizes worth nearly $35,000.

Inspur provides the teams with a rack and NF5280M4 servers, outfitted with two Intel Xeon E5-2680v4 (2.4Ghz, 14 cores) CPUs. The primary event sponsor also supplies DDR4 memory, SATA storage, Mellanox InfiniBand networking (card, switch and cables), as well an Ethernet switch and cables.

Eight Nvidia P100 boxes

Teams can substitute or add other componentry (except the servers) at their own expense or through sponsorship opportunities. Most of the teams we spoke with were able to forge a relationship with Nvidia, whose GPU gear is now widely used at all three major cluster challenges (at SC, ISC and ASC). We saw mostly P100 cards getting snapped into server trays this morning, but at least two teams had acquired the K40 parts with the hopes that they would offer a more optimal energy profile conducive to staying within the 3,000 watt contest power threshold. On everyone’s mind was how much of the available compute power they would be able to leverage without exceeding the power budget.

Days one and two of the competition are devoted to cluster set up and testing. The team-built clusters are used for an application set that includes the High Performance Linpack (HPL), the High Performance Conjugate Gradient (HPCG), the mystery application (to be announced Wednesday), the genome analysis code Falcon and a traffic prediction problem to be solved with the Baidu deep learning framework, Paddle Paddle. The teams report different levels of experience with Paddle Paddle and with scaling to multiple GPUs, a skill that will be critical for achieving optimum performance.

Two other platforms will be used in the competition: the homegrown TaihuLight and a Knights Landing (KNL) machine with the 64-core Intel Xeon Phi-7210 1.3Ghz CPU. Students will use TaihuLight to run and optimize the China-developed numerical wave modeler MASNUM application. The Inspur NF6248 KNL server (there’s a 20-node rack of these inside the contest hall) will be used for the molecular dynamics simulator LAMMPS. The 3,000 watt power limit does not apply for these workloads.

One of the most exciting parts of this year’s competition is the inclusion of the Sunway TaihuLight machine, which teams have have had access to since January. Each team will be allowed to use at most 64 SW CPUs with 256 CGs (for more details on the machine, see “China Debuts 93-Petaflops Sunway”). According to the rules: “Every team is allowed to design and implement proper parallel algorithm optimization and many-core optimization for the MASNUM source code. Each team needs to pass the correctness checking of each workload, and the goal is to achieve the shortest runtime of each workload.”

ASC17 is set up so teams can receive a total of 100 points: 90 points for performance optimizations and 10 points for the presentation that they deliver to the judges after the conclusion of the testing.

Rising to the AI Challenge

The addition of the Paddle Paddle framework continues the contest’s focus on AI and deep learning that was begun last year with the incorporation of a deep neural network program under the e-Prize category.

Wang Endong, founder of the ASC challenge, academician of the Chinese Academy of Engineering and chief scientist at Inspur, believes that with the convergence of HPC, big data and cloud computing, intelligent computing as represented by artificial intelligence will become the most important and significant component for the coming computing industry, bringing new challenges in computing technologies.

The AI thread has also been woven into the HPC Connection Workshop, which will be held in Wuxi on Thursday. The theme for the 15th HPC Connection Workshop is machine intelligence and supercomputing. The impressive lineup of speakers includes Jack Dongarra (ASC Advisory Committee Chair, University of Tennessee, Oak Ridge National Laboratory), Depei Qian (professor, Beihang University, Sun Yat-sen University; director of the Key Project on HPC, National High-Tech R&D program); Simon See (chief solution architect, Nvidia AI Technology Center and Solution Architecture and Engineering), and Haohuan Fu (deputy director, National Supercomputing Center in Wuxi, Associate Professor, Tsinghua University).

The ASC17 winners will be announced at an awards ceremony Friday afternoon.

The 20 ASC17 Teams (asterisk indicates first-time finalist):

Tsinghua University

Beihang University

Sun Yat-sen University

Shanghai Jiao Tong University

Hong Kong Baptist University

Southeast University*

Northwestern Polytechnical University

Taiyuan University of Technology

Dalian University of Technology

The PLA Information Engineering University*

Ocean University of China*

Weifang University*

University of Erlangen-Nuremberg*

National Tsing Hua University

Saint Petersburg State University

Ural Federal University

University of Miskolc

University of Warsaw*

Huazhong University of Science and Technology

Zhengzhou University*

Taihu Lake, Wuxi — China’s second-largest freshwater lake (Source: Shutterstock)
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!

How the United States Invests in Supercomputing

November 14, 2018

The CORAL supercomputers Summit and Sierra are now the world's fastest computers and are already contributing to science with early applications. Ahead of SC18, Maciej Chojnowski with ICM at the University of Warsaw discussed the details of the CORAL project with Dr. Dimitri Kusnezov from the U.S. Department of Energy. Read more…

By Maciej Chojnowski

At SC18: Humanitarianism Amid Boom Times for HPC

November 14, 2018

At SC18 in Dallas, the feeling on the ground is one of forward-looking buoyancy. Like boom times that cycle through the Texas oil fields, the HPC industry is enjoying a prosperity seen only every few decades, one driven 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, produ Read more…

By John Russell

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

New Data Management Techniques for Intelligent Simulations

The trend in high performance supercomputer design has evolved – from providing maximum compute capability for complex scalable science applications, to capacity computing utilizing efficient, cost-effective computing power for solving a small number of large problems or a large number of small problems. Read more…

New Panasas High Performance Storage Straddles Commercial-Traditional HPC

November 13, 2018

High performance storage vendor Panasas has launched a new version of its ActiveStor product line this morning featuring what the company said is the industry’s first plug-and-play, portable parallel file system that delivers up to 75 Gb/s per rack on industry standard hardware combined with “enterprise-grade reliability and manageability.” Read more…

By Doug Black

How the United States Invests in Supercomputing

November 14, 2018

The CORAL supercomputers Summit and Sierra are now the world's fastest computers and are already contributing to science with early applications. Ahead of SC18, Maciej Chojnowski with ICM at the University of Warsaw discussed the details of the CORAL project with Dr. Dimitri Kusnezov from the U.S. Department of Energy. Read more…

By Maciej Chojnowski

At SC18: Humanitarianism Amid Boom Times for HPC

November 14, 2018

At SC18 in Dallas, the feeling on the ground is one of forward-looking buoyancy. Like boom times that cycle through the Texas oil fields, the HPC industry is en 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 Read more…

By John Russell

New Panasas High Performance Storage Straddles Commercial-Traditional HPC

November 13, 2018

High performance storage vendor Panasas has launched a new version of its ActiveStor product line this morning featuring what the company said is the industry’s first plug-and-play, portable parallel file system that delivers up to 75 Gb/s per rack on industry standard hardware combined with “enterprise-grade reliability and manageability.” Read more…

By Doug Black

SC18 Student Cluster Competition – Revealing the Field

November 13, 2018

It’s November again and we’re almost ready for the kick-off of one of the greatest computer sports events in the world – the SC Student Cluster Competitio Read more…

By Dan Olds

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

OpenACC Talks Up Summit and Community Momentum at SC18

November 12, 2018

OpenACC – the directives-based parallel programing model for optimizing applications on heterogeneous architectures – is showcasing user traction and HPC im Read more…

By John Russell

How ASCI Revolutionized the World of High-Performance Computing and Advanced Modeling and Simulation

November 9, 2018

The 1993 Supercomputing Conference was held in Portland, Oregon. That conference and it’s show floor provided a good snapshot of the uncertainty that U.S. supercomputing was facing in the early 1990s. Many of the companies exhibiting that year would soon be gone, either bankrupt or acquired by somebody else. Read more…

By Alex R. Larzelere

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

TACC Wins Next NSF-funded Major Supercomputer

July 30, 2018

The Texas Advanced Computing Center (TACC) has won the next NSF-funded big supercomputer beating out rivals including the National Center for Supercomputing Ap Read more…

By John Russell

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

Requiem for a Phi: Knights Landing Discontinued

July 25, 2018

On Monday, Intel made public its end of life strategy for the Knights Landing "KNL" Phi product set. The announcement makes official what has already been wide 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

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…

By John Russell

Leading Solution Providers

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

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

Intel Announces Cooper Lake, Advances AI Strategy

August 9, 2018

Intel's chief datacenter exec Navin Shenoy kicked off the company's Data-Centric Innovation Summit Wednesday, the day-long program devoted to Intel's datacenter Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

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

MLPerf – Will New Machine Learning Benchmark Help Propel AI Forward?

May 2, 2018

Let the AI benchmarking wars begin. Today, a diverse group from academia and industry – Google, Baidu, Intel, AMD, Harvard, and Stanford among them – releas Read more…

By John Russell

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

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