Student supercomputing competitions

Hey guys. I’ve been participating in student supercomputing competition related events for about half a year now as a team member of the Nanyang Technological University Supercomputing Team. And I would like to share with you some information about the available competitions.

There are in total 3 international supercomputing competitions for undergraduate students. Some of them are even available for high school students or postgraduate student. They are ASC Student Supercomputer Challenge (ASC for short), ISC-HPCAC Student Cluster Competition (ISC for short), and SC Student Cluster Competition (SC for short). All three competitions require the teams to build a cluster by themselves and run applications on it. In the following sections, I’ll briefly introduce each one of them.

ASC Student Supercomputer Challenge

ASC is held by the Asia Supercomputer Community. It all started in 2012. Back then, it was just a competition for selecting elite teams from China to participate in ISC. However, starting from 2013, it has became an international competition. Over the years, more and more universities know about ASC and apply for it. In 2016, 175 university teams participated in the preliminary contest, which makes ASC the biggest event among all three.

ASC consists of two parts. One is the preliminary contest, and the other one is the final contest. Any team that applies can participate in the preliminary contest. And the best 16 teams are selected for the final contest.

There are two things that differentiates ASC from the other two competitions. One thing is that ASC allows you to modify the code of any application or benchmarking packages, as long as the algorithms are conceptually the same. This makes ASC one of the most interesting and challenging competitions. The other thing is that ASC is sponsored by Inspur. Therefore, the servers are provided for all the teams. The only things the teams can change are the drives and accelerator cards.

ISC-HPCAC Student Cluster Competition

ISC is held by the HPC Advisory Council in partnership with ISC HIGH PERFORMANCE(the conference). This is an international competition in Germany. 2016 marks the first year for our NTU team to participate in this competition.

SC Student Cluster Competition

SC is held by the SC committee during the conference. This international competition happens every year in the U.S. Unlike ASC and ISC which happen over about 5 days and only during daytime, SC is more like a hackathon which runs for 48 hours consecutively.


Overall, all three competitions are amazing and attractive. And starting from year 2016, our NTU team will try to apply for all of them. If you would like to get more information from me, leave a comment down below. I’ll try to reply to them.

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