HPC-AI Advisory Council and ISC Group Announce Winners of the 9th Annual Student Cluster Competition

Student teams from around the world demonstrate mastery of complex HPC and AI disciplines in first all-remote SCC powered by supercomputing resources

Competition focused on the global fight against COVID-19

SUNNYVALE, Calif.–(BUSINESS WIRE)–#ai–The HPC-AI Advisory Council (HPCAIAC) in collaboration with the ISC Group revealed the teams topping the 2020 leaderboard for the ninth annual ISC-HPCAIAC Student Cluster Competition (SCC). The four teams to garner top awards for the first “all virtual” SCC included:

  • First Place: University of Science and Technology of China (USTC, China)
  • Second Place: Centre for High Performance Computing (CHPC, South Africa)
  • Third Place: Tsinghua University (TU, China)
  • Honorable Mention: Nanyang Technological University (NTU, Singapore)
  • Fan Favorite: Universitat Politecnica de Catalunya (UPC, Catalonia/Spain)

As a consequence of the global COVID-19 pandemic, the ISC High Performance conference organizers quickly reorganized the event into an “all virtual” SCC in just a few short weeks. Competitors hailed from eleven different locations around the world, with a total of eighty-two students taking part in the 2020 competition.

“All of this year’s competitors are winners,” said Thomas Meuer, Co-General Chair of the ISC High Performance conference. “We hope their biggest take-away from competing is confidence, knowing they possess the capabilities and promise needed to conquer any challenge that comes their way. We’re pleased to be able to support the competition and to help guide students become contributing members within HPC and their own communities.”

The National Supercomputing Centre (NSCC) Singapore provided HPC system resources that allowed the international teams to coordinate and demonstrate their proposed solutions to complex real-world scenarios in a completely virtual setting.

“We were thrilled to be part of the competition and very encouraged to know that the power of HPC helped the organizers carry on the competition in spite of the limitations posed by the current pandemic,” said Associate Professor Tan Tin Wee, Chief Executive at NSCC. “Such competitions provide valuable practical experience in a range of real-world problems, which is critical for students’ development and for supporting their successful entry into the workplace.”

For the first time in the history of this competition, student teams competed using the same system configurations, leaving performance entirely dependent on each team’s technical skills and knowledge. Application challenges included: simulating a galaxy using the cosmological framework ChaNGa; ice-flow modelling using Elmer/Ice – an open source finite element analysis software; COVID-19 analysis demonstrating two molecular dynamics simulations, Tinker-HP and GROMACS; a new coding challenge simulating particle movement in 2-dimensional space; and an AI natural language processing challenge using BERT.

The all-remote teams competed against each other over a three-week period. Winners of the first to third places were the teams who accumulated the highest scores, respectively, where each team’s total score was a combination of (a) score of application runs, (b) score of innovation, and (c) score of team interview.

“The mission of the student cluster competition is to help foster the next generation of researchers and scientists, by teaching the students how to take advantage of high-performance computing and deep learning technologies for scientific simulations and the understanding of world phenomena,” said Gilad Shainer, chairman of the HPC-AI Advisory Council. “We would like to thank NSCC for their support of cluster resources, and the ISC Group for their ongoing support of the annual student cluster competition.”

For more information: www.hpcadvisorycouncil.com/events/student-cluster-competition

About ISC Group

ISC Group organizes ISC High Performance, the world’s oldest and Europe’s premier conference and networking event for the international HPC community. More at www.isc-hpc.com.

About HPC-AI Advisory Council

Founded in 2008, HPC-AI Advisory Council (HPCAIAC) is a community benefit organization with over 400 members committed to promoting HPC and AI through education and outreach. More at www.hpcadvisorycouncil.com.


Brian Sparks


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