ASC18 Student Cluster Competition to include 230 Teams

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Competitors at the 2017 ASC Supercomputing Challenge

The 2018 ASC Student Supercomputer Challenge (ASC18) will begin on January 16, 2018. First launched in 2012, the competition will feature a whopping 230 student teams looking to build the fastest possible cluster with a power cap of 3 Kilowatts.

ASC serves to challenge and inspire the next generation of HPC scientists and engineers to deliver innovative solutions. Closely following the most cutting-edge technologies, ASC has attracted a growing number of new talent to supercomputing and has greatly promoted communications in the HPC community throughout the world. Jack Dongarra, founder of TOP500, a ranking of the world’s most powerful supercomputer systems, and researcher at the Oak Ridge National Laboratory and University of Tennessee, has described ASC as having “by far the most intense competition” of any student supercomputer contests he has witnessed.

Details of the competition have been closely guarded. While T=the organizing committee has noted ASC18 will continue with past precedent in cooperating with an ultra-large-scale supercomputer system to serve as the competition platform, they have not said whether this would be the Gordon Bell Prize-winning Sunway TaihuLight featured in last year’s competition or another system altogether. Organizers have likewise not yet revealed the location of the upcoming competition.

Over the years, ASC has also given participating teams the chance to engage in major international science projects. In 2015, the competition partnered with SKA, the world’s largest radio telescope project. In 2016, ASC used the Gordon Bell Prize-winning numerical simulation of high-resolution waves to present teams with a challenge relating to driverless vehicles.

The USA Student Cluster Competition is like a marathon, testing participants’ hard work and perseverance,” said OrionX partner Dan Olds, who has covered all three major supercomputing challenges. “Germany’s ISC is a sprint, testing innovation and adaptability. China’s ASC is a combination of both.”

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