ASC17 Championship to Challenge Front-end Science

April 25, 2017

AI, challenge a Gordon Bell Prize application, optimize the latest third generation sequencing assembly tool, attempt to revitalize traditional scientific computing software on a quantum computing platform. All these sound like what a team of top engineers would do, but the truth is that these are the challenges that groups of university students, with an average age of 20 years old, need to overcome in the finals of the 2017 ASC Student Supercomputer Challenge (ASC17). The finals of this tournament are scheduled to be held at the National Supercomputing Center in Wuxi, China, from April 24 to 28, where 20 teams from around the world will compete to be crowned the champion.

In the ASC17 finals, the competitors have to use PaddlePaddle framework to accurately predict the traffic situation in a city for a particular day in the future. This requires each team to design and build an intelligent “brain” on their own, and then employ high-intensity training to coach this “brain” to come up with the results. They also need to ensure that the training is efficient and the trained “brains” will have a high recognition accuracy.

MASNUM, which is the third generation oceanic wave numerical model developed by China and was nominated for the Gordon Bell Prize. For compatibility with these top applications, the participants will get to perform their calculations using the world’s fastest supercomputer, Sunway TaihuLight, in the finals, as they attempt to extend parallel calculations in the software to 10,000 computing cores or more.

Currently for third-generation gene sequencers, each sequencing can generate as many as hundreds of thousands of gene fragments. Once the sequencing is completed, a more critical challenge emerges where the scientists have to assemble millions of gene fragments into a complete and correct genome and chromosome sequence. The finalists in ASC17 will attempt to optimize Falcon, a third-generation gene sequencing assembly tool, and the results will help research work in human genetics and even the origin of life to advance.

LAMMPS is the abbreviation for Large-scale Atomic/Molecular Massively Parallel Simulator, and is the most widely used molecular dynamics simulation software worldwide. It is the key software for research in many cutting-edge disciplines including chemistry, materials, and molecular biology. The challenge for ASC17 finalists is to port this very mature software to the latest “Knights Landing” architecture platform, and to improve the operational efficiency of this software.

In addition, the teams in ASC17 finals are also required by the organizing committee to make use of the supercomputing nodes from Inspur to design and build a supercomputer on their own under 3000W power to optimize HPL , HPCG and one mystery application. Each team should also provide an English presentation.

The ASC Student Supercomputer Challenge is initiated by China, and supported by experts and institutions worldwide. The competition aims to be the platform to promote exchanges among young supercomputing talent from different countries and regions, as well as to groom young talent. It also aims to be the key driving force in promoting technological and industrial innovations by improving the standards in supercomputing applications and research. ASC Challenge has been held for 6 years. This year the ASC17 Challenge is co-organized by  Zhengzhou University, the National Supercomputing Centre in Wuxi , and Inspur,with 230 teams from all over the world having taken part in the competition.

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