Students take on global challenge

2019-05-21 06:00
Clara Stassen, Stefan Schroder, Marc Layne from Dell, Jehan Singh and Dillon Heald with the laptops they won after the competition.

Clara Stassen, Stefan Schroder, Marc Layne from Dell, Jehan Singh and Dillon Heald with the laptops they won after the competition.

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Four University of Cape Town electrical and computer engineering students, Stefan Schroder, Clara Stassen, Jehan Singh and Dillon Heald, will be jetting off to Frankfurt Germany next month, to take part in the ISC 2019 Competition.

The quartet won the South African High Performance Computing Competition in December at the Century City Convention Centre. The contest required students to build fast performing computer machines and programmes. Participants had to go through a high-performance test, tutorials and real-time programming.

The competition was attended by several teams from universities across the country. The first phase of the competition had 20 teams battling out for the top spot.

Schroder says they had to present a design of what they think will be a fast performing machine and that was not an easy task. “We managed to pass the first phase and we went to phase two. That was a real wake up call for us. It was a mixture of all emotions,” he says.

The top 10 teams were given programmes on a memory stick and they had to make the programme run as fast as it can. “We had to install it and make it run as quickly in different ways, not mentioning that we had to set up the computers ourselves,” says Schroder.

Starting with the five-day programme, the UCT team couldn’t set up their computer in the first couple of days, meaning they couldn’t start running their programmes.

“It was so frustrating and disheartening. We thought we would lose the competition. However, we had forged friendships and we got help and we managed to set up,” explains Schroder.

They had to run their programmes through the night and managed to catch up. Though they managed to go through all the five memory sticks, their hopes for being at the top were dashed. With long hours and sleepless nights all the team wanted was just to go home.

Little did they know that despite all the glitches they had won the competition.

Singh says the competition was interesting. “We got a chance to do a lot of things. It was fun, frustrating and the pressure was too much,” he says.

The team also got laptops from Dell and went to tour Dell headquarters. Dell will be supplying them with computers for the competition in Germany.

The competition is now in its eighth year and, according to the ISC high-performance website, the contest allows international Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (Stem) teams to take part in a real time contest on advancing Stem disciplines and High Performance Competition (HPC) skills development. It will run from Sunday 16 June to Thursday 20 June with 14 teams having the opportunity to showcase systems of their own design, adhering to strict power constraints, and achieve the highest performance across a series of standard HPC benchmarks and applications, read a description on the website.

Four University of Cape Town electrical and computer engineering students, Stefan Schroder, Clara Stassen, Jehan Singh and Dillon Heald, will be jetting off to Frankfurt Germany next month, to take part in the ISC 2019 Competition.

The quartet won the South African High Performance Computing Competition in December at the Century City Convention Centre.

The contest required students to build fast performing computer machines and programmes. Participants had to go through a high-performance test, tutorials and real-time programming.

The competition was attended by several teams from universities across the country. The first phase of the competition had 20 teams battling out for the top spot.

Schroder says they had to present a design of what they think will be a fast performing machine and that was not an easy task. “We managed to pass the first phase and we went to phase two. That was a real wake up call for us. It was a mixture of all emotions,” he says.

The top 10 teams were given programmes on a memory stick and they had to make the programme run as fast as it can. “We had to install it and make it run as quickly in different ways, not mentioning that we had to set up the computers ourselves,” says Schroder.

Starting with the five-day programme, the UCT team couldn’t set up their computer in the first couple of days, meaning they couldn’t start running their programmes.

“It was so frustrating and disheartening. We thought we would lose the competition. However, we had forged friendships and we got help and we managed to set up,” explains Schroder.

They had to run their programmes through the night and managed to catch up. Though they managed to go through all the five memory sticks, their hopes for being at the top were dashed. With long hours and sleepless nights all the team wanted was just to go home.

Little did they know that despite all the glitches they had won the competition.

Singh says the competition was interesting.

“We got a chance to do a lot of things. It was fun, frustrating and the pressure was too much,” he says.

The team also got laptops from Dell and went to tour Dell headquarters. Dell will be supplying them with computers for the competition in Germany.

The competition is now in its eighth year and, according to the ISC high-performance website, the contest allows international Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (Stem) teams to take part in a real time contest on advancing Stem disciplines and High Performance Competition (HPC) skills development. It will run from Sunday 16 June to Thursday 20 June with 14 teams having the opportunity to showcase systems of their own design, adhering to strict power constraints, and achieve the highest performance across a series of standard HPC benchmarks and applications, read a description on the website.

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