Fri, Dec 05, 2014 - Page 3 News List

Taiwanese team breaks record, takes first place

DREAM TEAM:The ‘supercomputing’ competition saw the Taiwanese team come out on top with their cutting-edge cluster, which broke a record for its operation speed

By Tang Chia-ling and Jake Chung  /  Staff reporter, with staff writer

Students and teachers from National Tsing Hua University’s Department of Computer Science pose after winning first place at an international student cluster competition in New Orleans, Louisiana, in this undated photograph.

Photo provided by Tsing Hua University

A Taiwanese team participating in this year’s International Supercomputing Conference student cluster competition in New Orleans, Louisiana, not only took first place in the efficiency adjustment section, but also set a new competition record for highest floating-point operations per second (FLOPS).

The competition, a part of a high-performance computing conference, aimed to showcase student familiarity and expertise with computer technology in a real-time non-stop 48-hour challenge, where teams of undergraduate and high-school students assembled a small computer cluster on the exhibit floor and raced to demonstrate the greatest sustained performance across a series of applications.

Leading up to the competition, the groups worked with their individual advisers and vendor partners to design and build a cutting-edge, commercially viable small cluster constrained to a 3120-watt (26-amp) power limit.

At the conference, the teams demonstrated their clusters, executing the prescribed workload while showing progress and science visualization output on large high-resolution displays in their areas.

The Taiwanese team of Tsai Ching (蔡靖), Cheng Lung-hsiang (鍾隆翔), Chang Hsiao-hsuan (張效瑄), Wu Tzu-hsien (吳姿嫻), Chang Kai-chih (張凱智) and Lee Ching-feng (李青峰) had trained in the Taiwanese Student Cluster Competition camp.

Despite the limitations, the cluster built by the group achieved 10.07 teraFLOPS per second, or one trillion floating-point operations per second, the first time in the eight years the conference has been held that a cluster performed at more than 10 teraFLOPS per second, surpassing the record set by a team from China’s National University of Defense Technology last year.

Tsai said the group also won first place for the most efficient adjustments to the cluster’s machines through their airflow and cooling mechanisms.

The prescribed workload run on the cluster included climate calculations and astronomy-related programs, testing the participants’ ability to write code on the fly, the group said.

The team’s adviser, Chou Chih-yuan (周志遠), said that the team had been training intensively since January to master coding for Linux systems, hardware installation for computers, monitoring computer system efficiency and the various computational software used in the competition.

Additional reporting by CNA

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