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NTHU Team Garners Awards at the 2018 ASC Student Supercomputer Challenge
A team of students from the Departments of Computer Science and Mathematics participating in the finals of the 2018 ASC Student Supercomputer Challenge came out amongst the top 20, broke the record for an accelerated supercomputer system, won the Highest LINPACK award, and the First Class award.
 
The ASC Student Supercomputer Challenge has been held annually for the past seven years, and is the largest such event in the world. This year's competition was held at Nanchang University in China. More than 300 teams from around the world signed up and 20 teams advanced to the finals. The NTHU team was led by Chen Weijun of the Department of Computer Science and Scott Cheng of the Department of Mathematics. The remaining four members were You Liyu, Wang Yucheng, Chang Ron, and Yang Tienchi, all of the Department of Computer Science.
 
The team’s advisor was Prof. Jerry Chou of the Department of Computer Science, who for many years has been training students to participate in similar competitions. As required the team must be composed of undergraduate students regardless of their majors. In the competition each team uses a super-computing computer system built by the team to complete several calculation tasks in different application domains under certain power and time constraints. Each team’s score is based on the number of calculations completed and the amount of time used. In addition to applying textbook knowledge, the team must also find novel ways to solve the real-world problems presented in the competition.
 
In this competition, the NTHU team achieved a continuous floating-point operations per second (FLOPS) of 42.99 megabits for the overall system under the constraint of 3,000 watts of power consumption. Floating-point refers to a numeric value with a decimal, and FLOPS is used to determine the computing power of a computer. One TFLOPS/s represents one megaflop of floating-point operations per second. The team's outstanding performance was a significant improvement over the record set at the 2017 ASC, for which it won the Highest LINPACK award and the First Class award.
 
Team leader Chen Weijun said that all the team members had been preparing for at least one year, including winter and summer vacations, typically meeting every week to discuss their works. In addition, a lot of time was spent reading research papers and testing applications.
 
Prof. Chou thanked the Department of Computer Science for its support, Quanta Cloud Technology and Quanta Computers for providing travel funds and computer equipment, and the National Center for High-performance Computing (NCHC) for assistance with calculation software technology, all of which were instrumental in the team’s outstanding performance. He also said that he is looking forward to seeing a new generation of talented students in Taiwan applying themselves to the development of high-performance computing.
 
NTHU is a traditional powerhouse in the university supercomputer competitions. At competitions held in the United States, the NTHU team won the overall prize in 2010 and 2011, and won the Highest LINPACK award in 2007, 2008, and 2014; at a competition held in China in 2012 the NTHU team won the second prize.
 

Members of the NTHU team at the 2018 ASC Student Supercomputer Challenge (from left): Yang Tienchi, Wang Yucheng, Chang Ron, You Liyu, Scott Cheng, (organizer), Chen Weijun, and Hsu Kengjui.

Members of the NTHU team at the 2018 ASC Student Supercomputer Challenge (from left): Yang Tienchi, Wang Yucheng, Chang Ron, You Liyu, Scott Cheng, (organizer), Chen Weijun, and Hsu Kengjui.


Members of the NTHU team with their mentor (from left): Scott Cheng, Chang Ron, You Liyu, Prof. Jerry Chou, Wang Yucheng, and Johnny Lin.

Members of the NTHU team with their mentor (from left): Scott Cheng, Chang Ron, You Liyu, Prof. Jerry Chou, Wang Yucheng, and Johnny Lin.


Members of the NTHU team with their mentor (back row from left):Chang Ron, You Liyu, Prof. Jerry Chou, and Wang Yucheng; (front row from left): Scott Cheng and Johnny Lin.

Members of the NTHU team with their mentor (back row from left):Chang Ron, You Liyu, Prof. Jerry Chou, and Wang Yucheng; (front row from left): Scott Cheng and Johnny Lin.

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