The applications at the ASC18 Student Cluster Competition were tough. Tougher than the $3.99 steak special at your local greasy spoon restaurant. The apps are so tough that even Chuck Norris backs away from them slowly.
Take a look at the results on the ASC18 Mystery Application, Siesta, a molecular dynamics simulation program.
This turned out to be a very (very!) difficult application for the ASC18 students.
As you can see on the table, Tsinghua ran away from the pack with their score of 10.5. NUDT and Nanchang are quite a distance behind with scores of 4.3 and 4.2 respectively.
Worse yet are the average score for the 20 team field was a shockingly low 1.9 while the median score was 1.53. So the mystery application really took students by surprise this year as witnessed by the results. Ouch.
RELION (Regularized Likelihood Optimization) is a program that helps refine, and replace the missing parts, of a 3D or 2D electron cryo-microscopy image.
Versions of RELION are GPU-enabled, giving the teams a chance to greatly accelerate their computation.
While RELION wasn’t quite as difficult on the teams as Siesta, it still proved to be quite a challenge for the large majority of teams. Check out the low average and even lower median scores and you’ll see what I mean.
Shanghai Technical University (also known as ShanghaiTech) grabbed the win in RELION with a score of 14.58. This is one of those instances that prove that it’s not the hardware that wins at Student Cluster Competitions, but how the team uses their hardware. ShanghaiTech only had 8 V100 GPUs and six nodes.
Hardware wise, there were 9 teams who had more V100s than ShanghaiTech and several teams who had more CPUs as well. In fact, NTHU, Tsinghua and Shanghai Jaio Tong University all had more GPUs than ShanghaiTech. Again, it’s the students and what they do with their hardware that makes the difference in these competitions – not just how much hardware they bring.
NTHU took second place with a great score of 13.14 and the mighty Team Tsinghua was relegated to third place.
In our next, and final, ASC18 article, we reveal the winners and wrap up the competition with a look at the awards ceremony, the lavish banquet, and one of Nanchang’s greatest exports. Stay tuned…..