3 Jan 2019 Beijing - Participation in this year's ASC Student Supercomputer Challenge, co-organized and sponsored by Inspur, is set to reach a new record, as teams from a wide range of countries have registered for ASC19, including the United States, Germany, Russia, Poland, Italy, Spain, Singapore, Thailand, Indonesia, Brazil and Australia. Registration will continue until January 7, 2019.
Originally limited to Chinese participants, ASC became an international competition in 2013, growing to become a global platform for top students to learn and interact with one another. Many institutions of higher learning around the world have participated in the ASC finals numerous times, including the University of Miskolc, Saint Petersburg State University, Ural Federal University, Friedrich-Alexander-Universität Erlangen-Nürnberg, University of Warsaw, Nanyang Technological University, Kasetsart University and Telkom University. The University of Sao Paulo, University of Massachusetts, Ulsan National Institute of Science and Technology, King Abdulaziz University and others have likewise made it to the ASC finals in years past. Of the 20 teams in the ASC17 and ASC18 finals, 7 teams came from countries and regions outside mainland China.
Many international teams have proven themselves to be strong, innovative contenders from their first appearance at ASC. Nanyang Technological University attained the Silver Winner when it participated in ASC for the first time, and in the following year, the team broke a world record by achieving an ultra-high performance of 11.92 teraflops within 3000W, finally winning the Highest LINPACK. At ASC17, Ural Federal University adopted a method of independent spatial feature extraction with good scalability for intelligent driving traffic prediction, demonstrating a deep understanding and optimization ability of neural network models. This new approach to tackle traffic congestion earned the university's team ASC17's application innovation award. At ASC18, Saint Petersburg State University also won this award for the team's excellent application understanding and performance optimization capabilities.
Shaina D. Le, a member of the Texas A&M University team, who reached the finals for the first time this year, stated: "Competition often implies opposition and rivalry, yet I felt the overall goal of this competition is to work as a collective in determining solutions beneficial to all." She noted that she and her teammates met an incredible assortment of people, from the guides volunteering with the competition and students from some of the top universities, to doctoral candidates and high-performance computing experts at the forefronts of their fields. "We were immersed in a unique culture for a brief time, but the impression it left was fantastic and everlasting", she stated.
Alexander Ditter, the coach of Friedrich-Alexander-Universität Erlangen-Nürnberg team, had high praise for the organisation of the competition. He stated: "This competition is a great combination of a professional but friendly contest, exchange and extension of knowledge and cultural expansion." Marcin Mielniczuk, a member of the Warsaw University team, expressed a strong interest in Chinese culture after attending ASC17. Now he has studied Chinese for a year and a half. He expressed, in Chinese, "Obviously, I have learned a lot of about supercomputing when I participated in ASC. I was actually able to use the world's most powerful supercomputer, Sunway TaihuLight, which was a truly unique experience. At ASC, I discovered Chinese culture while learning about my field of interest. Though I will not be able to attend a second time after my graduation, I hope to have the opportunity to go to China again in the future."
University teams participating in ASC come from a wide range of countries and regions. They compete and exchange ideas, build cluster systems, and tackle the challenges of various applications. By stimulating their interest and enthusiasm for supercomputing, the competition encourages them to improve their understanding and use of supercomputers. Cross-cultural interactions likewise enable participants to strengthen cooperation and build bonds of friendship that span national boundaries, laying a solid foundation for international scientific collaboration in the future.
ASC is sponsored and organized by China and supported by Asian, European and American experts and institutions. The main objectives of ASC are to encourage exchange and training of young supercomputing talent from different countries, improve supercomputer applications and R&D capacity, boost the development of supercomputing, and promote technical and industrial innovation.