April 23, 2013
BEIJING, April 23 — The 2013 Asia Student Supercomputer Challenge (ASC13) held in Shanghai Jiaotong University officially ended recently. After five days of fierce rivalry, Tsinghua University in Mainland China won the championship and the single prize of "highest LINPACK" as well. Another Tsinghua University from Taiwan was runner up, and Huazhong Science and Technology University in Mainland China was awarded the prize of "Best MIC application optimization."
ASC is one of the three most influential contests in the world, abreast with SC and ISC. Initiated by China, it is jointly launched and organized by experts and institutes from Japan, Russia, South Korea, Singapore, Taiwan, Hong Kong and other countries and regions. It is hosted by Inspur Group, the most famous HPC company in China, and aims to boost the exchange and cultivation of young talents among Asia countries and districts and improve their application level of supercomputing as well as their ability of R&D. Besides, supercomputing, which serves as the driving force for science and technology, can stimulate the innovation of industries in Asia.
ASC competition rules require that all students teams should design and build supercomputer systems themselves under the power limitation of 3000 watts, and run five application optimizations of HPL, GROMACS, OPENCFD, WRF and BSDE. Besides, each team should demonstrate its plan and optimization strategy to the review committee, which poses an all-around challenge of supercomputing application ability.
In addition to the three previously referenced teams, there are seven student teams from: University of St. Petersburg (Russia), Ulsan University of Science and Technology (South Korea), King Abdulaziz University (Kingdom of Saudi Arabia), The Chinese University of Hong Kong, National University of Defense Technology, Shanghai Jiao Tong University and Sun Yat-Sen University. The total 10 teams were selected through the preliminary contest from the 43 universities who had signed up for the competition.
All teams were equipped with the most updated hardware, including supercomputing servers and MIC supplied by the organizer Inspur. Meanwhile, the five supercomputing application softwares chosen for the optimization contest are widely representative. The HPL benchmark test is the most mainstream and sophisticated review system for the performance of supercomputer floating points in the world. And the other four softwares are widely used in molecular dynamics, fluid dynamics, mesoscale weather forecast, and option pricing.
"The performance of those teams is far beyond our expectation, and displays the highest supercomputing level of Asian students," Mr Mo Zeyao, chairman of the evaluation committee and Vice Director and Professor in the Beijing Institute of Applied Physics and Computational Mathematics. He further commented that the students have a good command, deep understanding and application of the related supercomputer knowledge and technology. With their own characteristics in the plans and strategies, the teams differed dramatically in building supercomputing platforms. The biggest platform adopts nine nodes, and the smallest one takes four. In addition, there are both mixed clusters of CPU+GPU and MIC clusters.
The 10 teams fully exhibited their advantages in the finals, like the remarkable innovation of mainland Tsinghua University, the outstanding comprehensive strengths of Taiwan Tsinghua University, and the excellent application optimization of Huazhong Science and Technology University, and the high professional level and overall supercomputing ability of Sun Yat-sen University, National University of Defense Technology and Shanghai Jiaotong University. Meanwhile the Chinese University of Hong Kong, Ulsan University of Science and Technology (South Korea), King Abdulaziz University (Kingdom of Saudi Arabia) and University of St. Petersburg (Russia) were also impressive in showing challenge spirit, imagination and innovation.
"We hope to inspire the enthusiasm of young students toward supercomputing, and advance supercomputing applications and development, and talent cultivation and exchange among Asian countries and regions by holding this kind of contest," said Liu Jun, general manager of the high performance supercomputing department of Inspur Group. "Seeing the effects of the contest, we successfully realized our goal. The enthusiasm and innovation in supercomputing technology that was shown by the students was quite exciting for me."
Some experts argue that the application scale and level of supercomputers in one country or region is closely related to the strength of its high-tech industries and innovation, so the former is taken as innovation indication of the country. In recent years, Asia's supercomputing field has developed quickly, becoming the third panel of the world pattern. Because of China's strong drive, Asia ranks second place, closely after the US, for consecutive years in the TOP500 of the global supercomputer field. Under the current context, it is urgent in Asia's supercomputing field to strengthen the communication and cooperation of the high-tech industry and talents cultivation, vigorously advance science and technology innovation and upgrade the industry.
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