Final Teams Announced for the 2014 Intel® Parallel Universe Computing Challenge

Mike Bernhardt is the Community Evangelist for Intel’s Technical Computing Group

Intel announced today the competition schedule and the final selection of teams who will participate in the second annual Intel Parallel Universe Computing Challenge (PUCC) at SC14 in New Orleans, November 17-20. Each team will play for a charitable organization to whom Intel will donate $26,000 in recognition of the 26th anniversary of the Supercomputing conference.

Returning from last year will be the defending champions from Germany, The Gaussian Elimination Squad. The other finalist from last year, The Coding Illini, representing the National Center for Supercomputing Applications (NCSA) and the University of Illinois at Urbana–Champaign, will also make a return appearance.

Three other organizations, albeit with new team names, are also returning for this year’s competition. They are The Brilliant Dummies from South Korea’s Seoul National University, the Invincible Buckeyes from the Ohio Supercomputing Center, and the Linear Scalers from Argonne National Laboratory.

Three new teams will be competing in the 2014 competition, including SC3 (Super Computación y Calculo Cientifico) representing Latin America, Taiji representing China, and EXAMEN representing the EXA2CT project in Europe.

The 2014 PUCC will kick off on Monday evening, November 17 at 8 p.m. during the SC14 exhibition hall Opening Gala with The Gaussian Elimination Squad facing the Invincible Buckeyes. Additional matches will be held Tuesday through Thursday of the SC14 conference with the final match scheduled for Thursday afternoon at 1:30 p.m. I will once again be hosting the challenge along with my Intel partner James Reinders.

Coding and Trivia Challenge Combine in an Entertaining Stage Show

The PUCC features an 8-team single elimination tournament and is designed to raise awareness of the importance of parallelization for improving the performance of technical computing applications.

Each elimination match will consist of two rounds. The first round is a rapid-fire trivia challenge consisting of technical parallel computing questions interlaced with general HPC and SC Conference history trivia.

The second round is a parallel code optimization challenge where participants examine a piece of code that has been deconstructed from its optimized, parallel version and apply any code changes they believe will improve the overall performance. Points will be awarded during both rounds and the team with the most combined points will move on to the next match in the tournament. The audience will be watching the exercise on large screens while the hosts discuss the steps the teams are taking, and engage the audience in trivia for the chance to win prizes.

Team Captains Reveal Their Preparation Plans

Here’s what some of the team captains had to say on the upcoming challenge:

  • Mike Showerman, captain of the team who placed second last year, said he hopes this year’s team goes all the way to the championship. “The Coding Illini will be even fiercer this year and will take every opportunity to bring the title home.”
  • Examen Team Captain David Horak with IT4Innovations humorously suggested “We want to check whether we finally reached the state when bachelor students surpass us in HPC knowledge.”
  • Another team with a sense of humor is the group from Seoul National University who returns as The Brilliant Dummies. Team Captain Wookeun Jung, a graduate PhD student, says “Our team name is TBD, The Brilliant Dummies, because we are brilliant enough to solve the complicated HPC problems, and dummies that only can solve those HPC problems. Of course, whether we would be brilliant in the competition or not is TBD.”
  • When asked how the Linear Scalers, would prepare, Kalyan “Kumar” Kumaran, who is manager of Performance Engineering and Data Analytics in the Argonne Leadership Computing Facility said “Pre-competition stretching, and coffee. We will start memorizing sections from James Reinders’ books.”
  • Karen Tomko, Scientific Applications Group Manager at the Ohio Supercomputer Center and captain of the Invincible Buckeyes offered “We’ll do our homework for the trivia, brush up on the parallel constructs, look at some Fortran codes, and make sure we have at least one vi user on the team.”
  • Gilberto Díaz, infrastructure chief of the supercomputer center at Universidad Industrial de Santander (UIS), assembled a Latin Americans team called SC3 for Super Computación y Calculo Cientifico. He asserted “We would like to promote and develop more widespread awareness and use of HPC in our region. In addition to the excitement of participating in the 2014 event, our participation will help us to prepare students of master and PhD programs to better understand the importance of code modernization as well as preparing them to compete in future competitions.” Gilbert has since passed on the responsibility for the team captain to Carlos Barrios, Professor at UIS.
  • Georg Hager, team captain for last year’s champion Gaussian Elimination Squad and senior research scientist at Germany’s Erlangen Regional Computing Center, said “The PUCC is about showing knowledge and experience in the field of HPC. This is exactly what we are trying to build in the German institutions that were part of the team at SC13, and so we are eagerly waiting for our next chance to show that we have done well on that.”