Student Supercomputing Teams Seize Victory in Frankfurt, Break Records with NVIDIA GPUs

by Gary Rainville

The NVIDIA Tesla Accelerated Computing Platform has, once again, spurred student teams to wins and new heights of performance at last week’s ISC-HPCAC Student Cluster Competition in Frankfurt, Germany.

ISC South Africa student team
2016 CHPC team members: Andries Bingani, Ashley Naudé, Bakhekile Ndlovu, Avraham Bank, Craig Bester, Sabeehah Ismail and Leanne Johnson. (Not pictured: Kayla-Jade Butkow and adviser David Macleod)

Teams from South Africa and China both used Tesla GPU accelerators to earn top marks in the fifth annual competition. Indeed, 10 of the 12 competing high school and undergraduate teams — from as far afield as Estonia, Singapore and Spain — deployed GPUs.

South Africa Team Wins Real-Time Challenge

South Africa’s Centre for High Performance Computing team, which has a long string of victories at such events, won ISC’s real-time challenge. They used powerful, power-efficient NVIDIA Tesla K40 GPU accelerators.

Each team builds a small cluster of its own design on the show’s exhibit floor. They then race to demonstrate the greatest performance across a series of benchmarks and applications.

China Team Sets New World Record

ISC China supercomputing team
2016 Huazhong University team members: Kaixi Li, Jingbo Wang, Tao Meng, Kaijie L, Haoqi Xu, Yingzhong Guo, and adviser Xuanhua Shi.

Also at ISC, the team from Huazhong University of Science and Technology, in China, set a new world record of 12.56 teraflops on the LINPACK benchmark, while staying within a 3-kw power consumption limit. The team used Tesla K80 GPU accelerators to power its work.

This is the third straight time the Tesla K80 has been used to break this record since the GPU was launched a year and a half ago. A team from Zhejiang University, of China, set the previous mark, at the Asia Supercomputer Community 2016 challenge in April. At the same event a year earlier, a team from Singapore Nanyang Technological University was the first to use the Tesla K80 to set the LINPACK record.

Supercomputing GPUs at ISC

The competitions are designed to foster a generation of computer scientists and researchers able to build supercomputers that can tackle complex computational problems in a wide variety of fields.