20 Nov 2017 Denver - The ASC Student Supercomputer Challenge 2018 (ASC18) officially kicked off at the Supercomputing Conference 2017 (SC17). The registration is now open to university students from around the world. ASC Challenge is the world's largest student supercomputing competition, drawing thousands of university students to participate since being inaugurated 6 years ago. The ASC17 saw 230 university teams join the challenge, with 20 teams moving on to the finals. The finals of this tournament was held at the National Supercomputing Center in Wuxi, China, home to the world's fastest supercomputer, Taihu Light.
Mr. Vangel Bojaxhi, representative of the Asia Supercomputer Community, introduced the competition schedule. ASC18 will be divided into three stages: the first stage is registration and team set up, will last from November to December, 2017; the second stage is the preliminary contest and will be held between January to March 2018; the third stage is the finals and will be held in May in 2018. Vangel Bojaxhi noted that the ASC committee planned to continue the cooperation with the large-scale supercomputer, and use the system to serve as the platform for ASC18, and that artificial intelligence would be one of the themes of the competition.
Dan Olds, a senior journalist who has covered the college student supercomputer competition for many years, called the Challenge a "life-changing event" for many of its participants. He noted that in addition to expanding their computing and research knowledge, the competition can also help participants develop a better understanding of their career path.
The schools sending the teams also realize great value from the contests. Several universities have used the Student Cluster Challenge as a springboard to build a more robust computer science and HPC curriculum. The contests also give the schools an opportunity to highlight student achievement, regardless of whether or not they win.
"Participating in the Challenge with the Sunway Taihu Light Supercomputer was a very valuable experience", stated Li Yuxuan, a member of Tsinghua University team, who emerged as ASC17 champions and winners of the challenge's Prize.
Team coaches Alexander Ditter and Jan Laukemann, who led the University of Erlangen-Nuremberg in its first entry to the Challenge this year, echoed Li Yuxuan's sentiments. "ASC provided us an opportunity to communicate with other universities from around the world. It is a good platform for exchange on the latest trends in supercomputing applications and systems", noted Jan Laukemann.
ASC is sponsored and organized by China. This association is generously supported by Asian, European and American experts and institutions. The main objectives of ASC are to initiate exchange and cultivation of young supercomputer talents across different countries, improve supercomputer application level and R&D capacity, facilitate the driving force of supercomputer, and promote technical and industrial innovation.
Deadline for team registration is January 15, 2018.