On May 7 at Nanchang University, the first day of competitions in the final round of the 2018 ASC Student Supercomputer Challenge (ASC18) came to a close. NTHU accomplished an astonishing result of 42.99 TFLOPS within 3000W power consumption. First-time ASC finalist Qinghai University also gave an impressive performance, achieving 40.47 TFLOPS. Nine other teams including Sun Yat-Sen University, Tsinghua University and Beihang University also had a strong showing, all breaking the 31.7 TFLOPS record set at ASC17.
In the HPL baseline test the NTHU team designed a heterogeneous supercomputing system with 4 servers and 16 cards – 4 of Inspur’s NF5280M5 AI supercomputing servers supporting 12 NVIDIA Tesla V100 and 4 P100 GPU accelerators, with which their consistent floating-point performance reached 42.99 TFLOPS after optimization. Tsinghua University on the other hand achieved the best HPCG test result with 2080.6 GFlops.
In addition to undergoing the HPL and HPCG benchmark test, the 20 finalists also optimized the 3D reconstruction algorithm RELION – a core application of the cryo-EM that won the 2017 Nobel Prize in Chemistry. They also tackled a surprise challenge announced on the spot: a computer simulation program of molecular dynamics SIESTA. ShanghaiTech University performed superbly on the RELION test, accurately completing all 3 operations and attaining the highest score. Tsinghua University scored highest on SIESTA by achieving the greatest optimization on the application.
On May 8, the finalists will encounter a “super challenge” in AI machine reading comprehension provided by Microsoft. Tackling this key issue in the development of AI, the winner of the challenge will be awarded this year’s e-Prize Computing Challenge Award. The day’s challenges will also require the teams to optimize NASA’s famous CFD code CFL3D.
The ASC is the world’s largest student supercomputer challenge. Jointly organized by the Asia Supercomputer Community, Inspur Group, and Nanchang University, ASC18 featured more than 300 teams from around the world, 20 of which entered the final round. Honors including Champion, Silver Prize, Highest Computing Performance Award and e-Prize Computing Challenge Award will be announced on May 9.