SA team aims for 4th victory at international high performance computer competition

2018-06-26 15:20
SA students are aiming for a fourth HPC victory in Germany. (CSIR)

SA students are aiming for a fourth HPC victory in Germany. (CSIR)

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Six South African students are looking to replicate victory in a global supercomputer competition in Frankfurt, Germany, which ends on Wednesday.

The students, Meir Rosendorff, Joshua Bruton, Kimessha Paupamah, Katleho Mokoena, Nathan Michlo and Njabulo Sithole, are from Wits and the University of Limpopo, and are set to compete in the Student Cluster Competition.

"It's a great opportunity and I'm loving the experience," said Michlo, as he sat with the team in preparation for the competition.

In the annual competition, which takes place in Frankfurt, the students have to demonstrate their own innovative computer systems.

They will be judged on the ability of their design to adhere to strict power constraints and high-performance benchmarks.

In the run-up to the competition, the students were sent to the Texas Advanced Computing Centre (TACC) in Austin in the US, for extensive training and support.

Rigorous selection process

South Africa is no stranger to the high-performance computer competition, having won it in 2013 - the first year the country entered - as well as in 2014 and 2016.

Those hoping to make it through to the supercomputer competition go through a rigorous selection process at the Centre for High Performance Computing (CHPC).

The CHPC is a Department of Science and Technology initiative, carried out through the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR).

The CHPC's Winter School helps participants build clusters on Linux systems and teams are required to build a prototype cluster in the cloud.

The local selection process for next year's competition is already under way and teams are preparing for a contest which kicks off in July.

In 2017, there were 10 teams that competed for national honours in December.

Here are the rest of the competitors in the competition, which forms part of the International Supercomputing Conference:

  • Nanyang Technological University, Singapore
  • The Edinburgh Parallel Computing Centre at the University of Edinburgh, UK
  • Polytechnic University of Catalonia, Spain
  • Kasetsart University, Thailand
  • Hamburg University, Germany
  • Heidelberg University, Germany
  • Friedrich-Alexander University Erlangen-Nürnberg, Germany
  • The Federal University of Paraná, Brazil
  • The University of Warsaw, Poland
  • Tsinghua University, China
  • ShanghaiTech University, China

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