Korean High-Schoolers Develop Supercomputing Skills, and May Just Change the World

by Samantha Zee

Invite 60 gifted high-schoolers to a week-long supercomputing camp. Train them on how to accelerate applications using GPUs. Organize them into small groups, each with their own stack of Jetson TK1 devkits, and set them loose.

Supercomputing camp
The next bright idea gets its start with a stack of Jetson TK1 devkits at the Supercomputing Youth Camp 2015, in South Korea.

What do you get?

Packs of teens developing a social networking service to communicate with their sweethearts, investigating how hackers operate in specific games, and finding new ways to analyze political leaders.

Supercomputing already has a big influence on our lives. Processing huge amounts of data and performing enormous calculations in very short periods of time, supercomputers are regularly deployed by weather services, map makers, astronomers, military planners, scientists, medical researchers and more.

As performance improves, the possibility of what supercomputers can offer is endless. The future holds even more promise as shown by the boys and girls from seven high schools in South Korea who attended the Supercomputing Youth Camp 2015, sponsored by NVIDIA’s Seoul office and Korea’s Ministry of Science.

The Korea Institute of Science and Technology Information, a national supercomputing center, hosted the camp this summer. There, the high school students learned through lectures and hands-on work, including breaking into three-person teams, with each student working on their own Jetson TK1 devkit.

Jetson TK1 devkits at supercomputing-camp
Raw performance beyond 325 GFLOPS and a sub-10W power budget make Jetson ideal for compute-intensive embedded projects.

Many of the students have already learned the C and Python programming languages. The camp gave them the chance to learn how to apply this knowledge to supercomputing applications, including CUDA and GPU accelerators.

In friendly competition with their peers, the student teams aimed to show the peak performance of the clusters they had worked on. Team mentors stayed a jump ahead of the students by taking a month of CUDA training at NVIDIA’s PSG solution center before joining the camp.

South Korea is a world leader in integrating technology into its school classrooms. The country plans to add GPU-accelerated computing to the science curriculum for high school students in its Youth Program this year. Mastery of the coding languages will help the students navigate a supercomputer-influenced world of the future.

It’s a world they may very well build.