ASC Experience Sharing

向极限接近,我们的超算之旅 —— 徐林杰 南昌大学

我是南昌大学软件工程专业(现大三) 的学生徐林杰,大二时作为南昌大学ASC参赛队队员,主要负责机器阅读理解(MSMARCO) 题目和CUDA编程。对于机器阅读理解题,之前没有自然语言处理的项目经验,这次从学习到应用真是稳赚,比赛之后听说很多队也是赛前没有接触过自然语言处理,膜拜各路大神。CUDA编程是在老师的指导下开始接触学习的,感觉是发现了新大陆,竟然可以用几千个核,像是控制了一个军队。

一台台厚重的计算机, 一排排闪烁的指示灯, 这些超算的工作环境已经成为我们最熟悉的场景. 备战ASC最艰难的时刻也差不多是去年的这个时候吧. 还记得那时候为了均衡性能和稳定性对操作系统的艰难选择, 为了效率从0学起GPU编程的坚持不懈, 为了备战的持续性和服务器们住在一起。

现在回首, 那些曾经吃尽苦头, 头顶压力的队员们, 已经焕然一新, 正在更高的台阶上迎接新的挑战. 南昌大学参赛队里, 三名大四的学长学姐里, 两位即将到新的校园里, 踏进学术研究的殿堂. 一位已经拿了国内某出行平台公司的offer, 从事分布式系统相关工作. 剩下两位还待成长的学弟, 也即将迎来新的比赛季。 一位学弟说: 如果让我只能选一个奖项写在简历上, 我会毫不犹豫地写上ASC. 他说原因不是ASC的知名度, 而是他从ASC比赛中获得了太多, 如果别人问起这个比赛的细节, 他不会有说不出的东西。 赛场上压力比较大, 除了首次参赛带来的未知性, 还有对每一题在决赛上放出的新数据的临时决策, 神秘题的快速调优. 另外隔壁是劲旅上海科技大学, 他们在初赛就展示了雄厚的实力, 这也让我们深处压力之下. 幸好, 赛场上各个参赛队也非常友善, 互相帮助和鼓励, 赛后也无保留的互相交流讨论。

比赛结束后的那个傍晚, 来自全国各地的队员们围在饭店里小小的桌子边, 抛出想法, 发表观点, 这个时候的小方桌上面, 扬起了久久不息的头脑风暴. 天黑了很久, 大家结伴而去,

明天会有新的挑战, 但是我们也会有更加坚硬的心。

 

 

My ASC Experience —— TAMU-Shaina D. Le

After an 18-hour flight from the United States, our team stepped off of the plane and straight onto the night train in Shanghai. We arrived in Nanchang three hours later, trying to find our guides in the large, empty station. When we finally found our guides, two students attending the local Nanchang University named Ivy and Lily, we were met with smiles and a lot of fruit. We were caught off-guard by the show of hospitality so early into our journey. Our team loaded onto a bus that would take us to the dormitories for some well needed rest.

At 0700 the next morning our team ate a quick breakfast at one of the local restaurants before making our way to the conference center for the opening ceremony and day one of the competition. ASC18 was the first time our university participated in the competition; it was daunting to compete with schools who were veterans in the contest. Despite this feeling, our determination to do the best we could remained strong.

The competition began with installing the hardware and software necessary to run the cluster. We unpacked the servers and then the graphical processing units. It never ceased to amaze me that a device about a third of a meter long contained the potential for power and wide applicability. Gathering the rest of the supplies, we were ready to construct the cluster. If only it were easier said than done. Problem after problem appeared throughout the construction process, such as loose wires and uncooperative connections. Some had simple solutions, others required convoluted ones. Our frustration grew as the clock ticked down and our attempts failed to fix our issues. By the end of the day, we had fixed a majority of the problems; we were exhausted and grateful to be granted another day of cluster building.

On the second day, Ivy and Lily greeted us with breakfast on the competition floor. I cannot remember the exact dishes, but all of what they brought was delicious. Their hospitality towards us was endless. We continued where we left off previously, hoping that all would go well. Sliding the last server into its place on the rack, we finished double-checking our cluster and were ready to tackle running the applications on it the following day. In the meantime, we performed additional research into the applications to prepare for any possible errors that could arise while running the programs.

The third day came and we entered the competition floor once more. Each member of our team split off to work on the respective programs we had studied. Having spent a good amount of my academic semester working with RELION, a program used to refine electron cryo-microscopy reconstructions, I felt rather prepared to run the program successfully. With the preliminary set-up of HPL and HPCG out of the way, our team was given the decryption key to a massive input file for RELION. We decrypted the data, excited to continue our progress. Our excitement did not last, however; the unique identifier of the decrypted input file did not match the one provided by the ASC18 hosts. In a few moments we were surrounded by staff making attempts to figure out why the identifier tied to our file was different. After being accused of tampering with the data file, which we had not done, it was determined that our file had corrupted when we moved the file to a different location. Most of our time for that day had been spent on the RELION ordeal, putting us behind most of the other universities. The final day for testing our cluster had arrived. We were still recovering from yesterday’s setback, but also determined to see the competition through to its completion. The day went by like a blur. We were focused on trying to get the remaining programs running on our system but errors were cropping up as often as they did the first day of ASC18. Some of our team members became disheartened. We did what we could to get results until the contest organizers called for the end of testing. We left the competition floor and returned to our hotel to prepare our presentation for the next day.

Walking into the presentation room, our team was met with an intimidating sight: a table filled with experts in HPC research, design, and application. The people themselves possessed impressive reputations in terms of their accomplishments and knowledge base; what could they possibly expect from a group of university students? Gathering our nerves, we began our presentation, discussing the results we gained from the past two days of testing. The results were not optimal, to say the least. We concluded our presentation and left the room, wishing the best of luck to the next team and glad that we had made it through this gauntlet.

Even though our team did not win the competition, we gained much from this experience. We witnessed each other’s strengths and weaknesses under authentic contest conditions. We met an incredible assortment of people, from our two guides who were eager to strengthen their skills in the English language through volunteering with the competition and students from some of the top universities in their respective countries, to doctoral candidates and high-performance computing experts at the forefronts of their fields. We were immersed in a unique culture for a brief time but the impression it left was fantastic and everlasting. We accomplished the goal we had set out for our team before the contest, which was to do the best of our ability, and we achieved it despite the circumstances. Competitions often imply opposition and rivalry, yet I felt the overall goal of this competition to work as a collective in determining solutions beneficial to all.

 

 

参加ASC世界大学生超算竞赛是怎样一种体验 —— 冯冠宇 清华大学

作为清华大学学生超算团队,我们连续参加了多年ASC超算比赛。这些比赛的经历十分珍贵,是一个不断学习、与队友们互相促进、不断提升能力的过程,美妙而不可多得。

首先,团队合作永远是这个比赛中最核心的力量。准备比赛的过程往往很辛苦,又很充实。由于大家平时会有很多课程,队伍又是由不同年级的同学组成的,能够聚在一起讨论和研究问题的时间是很少的。因此,我们选择了每周抽出一个中午的时间,坐在一起吃外卖,在轻松的氛围中研究讨论每个题目中的问题。这样的工作方式不仅高效,而且有利于队友之间增进感情、多多交流和沟通。每个同学都能在这个过程中了解和学习到一些不同领域的知识,队伍里的每个人都享受着这一过程。

其次,老师的支持是我们进步的坚实后盾。每年的ASC比赛都正好是学期的期中,那个时候我们有很多的作业和一些期中考试,尤其是低年级的同学,他们面临的课业压力更重。学校的老师们对此表示理解,并非常热情地帮助我们调整考试日期。感谢老师们的支持和理解,才让我们能够在不影响正常的学业的情况下认真专注地比赛。

最后,特别要感谢浪潮ASC主办方的大力支持。主办方团队十分专业,每年的比赛题目都有很强的综合性,遍及生物、物理、人工智能、化学等多个领域,让我们了解到多个领域的知识,也锻炼了我们对于自身技能的应用能力。主办方每年都会选择风景秀丽的地方作为比赛的地点,比如2016年去了武汉的华中科技大学、17年去了无锡超算中心、18去年去了南昌大学,在比赛之余,当地优美的环境也给我们带来心旷神怡的感受。食宿方面,比赛主办方也安排的十分周到,每年都有志愿者全程协助我们解决生活上的困难。另外,浪潮公司在过去的几年还帮助我们选了优秀、稳定的机器,帮助我们了节省经费,提供了公平的比赛平台,让我们专注于解决算法和性能的问题。

 

 

参加ASC世界大学生超算竞赛是怎样一种体验 —— 周恒 华中农业大学

先说一下背景,至今参加过两届ASC超算竞赛:ASC17/ASC18 Final。

说到参赛体验,我总结下来就是一句话:机遇与挑战。

超算涉及的知识面非常广,道路艰辛且漫长,刚开始学的时候都是在摸索,太多的理论知识无法理解,因为还没形成完整的知识体系,但我并没有惧怕退缩,反而越学越带劲儿,遇到不懂的就查,而且知识之间都是有联系的,比如遇到了知识点A不懂,在查A的时候可能又会遇到B不懂,顺藤摸瓜,把这一系列的都弄懂了之后,脑海里便会逐渐形成自己的知识体系。在我看来,作为一名计算机科学与技术专业的学生,更应深入了解计算机底层的知识,而ASC超算竞赛就是一个非常棒的途径来深入学习计算机科学。

ASC超算竞赛初赛时间跨度大,覆盖整个寒假,中间只有1周左右时间回家,甚至回家也还在远程跑程序。寒假那段时间都在和队友研究如何优化,然后实验对比,如此反复。凌晨回寝也是经常的事,但这不是一个人的战斗,和队友一起奋战,再大的困难我们也不怕!

还有令我印象最深刻的是ASC18 Final,不仅仅是我第一次参加Final,也是学校第一次入围决赛,现场压力很大,没啥现场经验的我们在现场也碰了许多坑,刚开始因为设备硬件新,自带的系统镜像没驱动,但对面香港浸会大学热情地帮了我们一把,后来浸会大学遇到坑时我们也会提供一些帮助,渐渐地我们两支队伍也相互学习,因此结下了深厚的友谊,这是我意料之外的,这也为紧张的比赛增添几分温暖。比赛现场,高手云集,在现场决赛中也看到自己和其他大佬的差距,也为自己以后努力找准了方向,可以毫不夸张地说,ASC超算竞赛改变了我的人生轨迹。如果当时没选择参加这个比赛,可能我现在已经在某个互联网公司打拼,也或许是茫茫考研大军中的一员,但我最终选择在计算机领域继续深造。

参赛收获

个人能力(编程,工程,科研)

ASC超算竞赛是一个综合性非常强的比赛,它要求参赛队员掌握的知识涉及面很广,所以这也给一些新队员造成一定困扰,但只要坚持下来,给个人的提升是非常巨大的,因为你比其他没参赛的普通本科生多学了非常多的知识,这无论是对你以后工作还是读研,都有着非常巨大的帮助。ASC超算竞赛的赛题本身就出自当今的一些科研领域的难题,所以除了编程方面的提升之外,对自己的工程能力以及科研能力也有着非常大的提高。

荣誉,经历,友谊

参加ASC超算竞赛,通过自身的努力,除了能带给你以上所说,还能带给你荣誉,一段难以忘怀的参赛经历,还有和队友同甘共苦、弥足珍贵的友谊。在这里你可能遇到与你志同道合的队友,可能遇到你的启蒙导师,可能找到了你未来的研究方向,还可能杀入决赛,与来自五大洲四大洋的顶级选手一决高下。我也非常享受ASC超算竞赛带给我的机遇与挑战。

备战经

对于大一新生来说,选择哪个方向可能还为时尚早,最重要是打好编程基础,可以通过多刷算法题来提高自己的编程能力。经过一年的编程训练,相信你的编程能力以及突飞猛进,大二上学期对ASC超算竞赛进行入门学习了,可以看看《超算竞赛引导》(科学出版社)的第一篇,里面对超算的一些基本概念和基础知识都有讲解,可能在刚开始看的时候会有许多概念不懂,这些知识可能涉及计算机组成原理、体系结构、操作系统、并行分布式计算等知识,这些不懂的地方可以在网上找到相关的答案,如果还是不懂也没关系,等学习到后面,你就会领悟其中的奥妙。
对于有过参赛经验的老队员来说,自己应该选准方向进行深耕,多参与相关方向的科研项目,提升自己的实战经验,实战经验非常重要。另外,《超算竞赛引导》(科学出版社)的第二篇和第三篇有专门针对ASC超算竞赛的介绍以及往年赛题的题解以及参赛队的经验分享,值得学习和研究。

 

 

参加ASC世界大学生超算竞赛是怎样一种体验 —— 崔鹏 青海大学

我是青海大学计算机系ASC18的队长崔鹏,作为一名连续参加三年ASC超算竞赛的老队员,从第一年初出茅庐,获得了优胜奖的成绩;到第二年渐入佳境,获得全球二等奖的成绩,再到18年的重大突破,获得全球一等奖并入围总决赛。在这个过程中经历了无数困难,饱尝了ASC大赛的各种滋味,无论是参赛经历还是备战经验,都深有体会。 关于备战经验,对于初赛来说,我觉得主要是投入时间和经历,在做每个题目的过程中,你会经历从程序“跑起来”到程序优化出来的这么一个过程,这是一个十分重要的过程,如果你很充实地完成了这个过程,那么你的成绩应该比较乐观,其次团队合作也是至关重要的,团队中的每个人应该有具体的分工,要有主次之分,哪些人重点负责哪道题目一定要明确,这样可以做到各个击破,当遇到棘手问题,整个团队应该一起交流来得出解决方案,在总决赛中道理也是如此。

关于总决赛,累成狗是整个比赛的代名词,当然痛并快乐着也是整个比赛最有价值的东西,总决赛的4天时间特别紧张,压力也特别大,这么短的时间你要搭建自己的集群,还要努力完成每一道题目,要压功耗,稍微一个不注意的细节可能就前功尽弃了。ASC18第一次参加总决赛,没啥经验,也跳进了很多坑,当然后来有些坑跳出来了,有些坑没有跳出来,笑哭。 最后就是比赛中收获了友谊,认识了很多大佬,学习到了很多知识。总的来说,这是一个对本科生来说一个非常有意义的比赛,从硬件到软件,系统结构到操作系统,你会从中学到很多有用的知识,并将你学习的理论知识得以实践,受益匪浅。

于个人而言,参加ASC对我保研清华也有很大帮助,最直观的是在学校保研过程中,ASC获奖可以保研加分。其次,从参赛的过程中,我学会了很多专业前沿知识,培养了我的研究兴趣,多了许多研究工作,而且参赛的这个经历对我面试也有很大帮助。

 

 

参加ASC世界大学生超算竞赛是怎样一种体验 —— Marcin Mielniczuk, 华沙大学,波兰

我确定可以说:参加 ASC 变更了我的生活。如果不是我 ASC17 的参与,我现在不是学习汉语的。

ASC17 以前我没有去过中国或者什么欧洲外边的国家。去中国以后我能第一次尝尝中国菜。在波兰营业不太多真的中式菜的餐馆。虽然有比较多便宜的亚洲式的饭馆,但是那儿的食物跟真的中国食物 不一样。我马上喜爱到中国菜,他是真的有特色。 我也有机会自己认识一点儿中国的文化。比赛以前和以后 ASC 的志愿者帮助我们游览一点儿无锡。因为那时我们队员中没有会说汉语的人,所以要不是志愿者,我们不能看无锡漂亮有意思的地方!

幸亏我那么好去中国参加 ASC 的经历,回波兰以后我决定开始学习汉语。现在我一共学了一年半汉语了。 然后我还有机会参加 ASC18 的集训。我到了北京,集训后看有些北京的世界闻名的地方,又能认识一点儿中国的文化和菜。那时我已经会说一点儿汉语。不过,我没能自己把集训的内容明白好——真谢谢一个中国人志愿者。我见面的中国人都一直是真的友好,乐于助人。 显然,参加 ASC 的时候我还有很多超算的进步。我可以用世界 最强大的超级计算机,” 神威太湖之光”。这是真的独特的经历。在 ASC 我能一边学习,一边认识中国的文化。虽然我毕业后不再能参加 ASC,但是我希望我将来还有机会去中国。不好意思我的中文还不太好——我还要学习得很多!

 

 

参加ASC世界大学生超算竞赛是怎样一种体验 —— 谢志强 上海科技大学

ASC18 ShanghaiTech GeekPie_HPC 队长, silver prize & e prize winner in final. 所有的荣誉都是属于团队的,成员们或精于Linux trouble shooting,或精于算法,或有志于体系结构,或见长于deep learning,正是这样的优势互补才使得整个漫长的赛程圆满结束。 而体验却是很私人的,就于我自己而言,从对超算竞赛毫无了解到好友找到我说要不要试试这个比赛,开始设立计划、担任队长物色人员组成队伍,申请计算资源规划任务,读paper设计模型写代码调参数(甚至在初赛中是自掏腰包买了Google Cloud资源来炼丹),写邮件写预算申请写采购申请写计划安排。上科大是一所新学校,作为第二届本科生,近乎从零开始是困难的,个中滋味不足为外人道也。

而决赛开始以后才发现,我们对于整个赛制规则有不少误解,申请的计算节点太少,整个团队人员也偏少,甚至于带来的八块GPU加速卡——也是最终排名靠前的队伍里面最少的。最后还是靠着两道赛题的大幅度领先优势才侥幸在总分上压过了十六块卡的国立清华拿了亚军。而在此之前,初赛成绩的一鸣惊人对于我们后续申请机器与拉显卡赞助也大有帮助,因此我也总感到自己是幸运的,整个过程中几个关键节点都得到了眷顾,学院和学校方面也给予了大力的支持。

用收获颇丰这个词来形容整个经历大概是恰当的,这远不仅是成绩上,也是在挑战高性能计算问题中面临种种困难与设计解决方案,更是为我们的队员们都享受了整场比赛,相互之间都有好的协作。更收获了与许多大学的优秀队员们的友谊,在交流中学到了很多,也互相了解到了彼此学校教学、研究的情况。无论如何,ASC毕竟只是一场比赛,比赛难免是在竞争中各凭本事超超越对手,我为我们队员所表现出的大方谦和与乐于分享感到骄傲,这一切都源于我们是依靠着自身的热情与兴趣驱动来参加的竞赛而更少地因为功利。

后来再走到法兰克福参加ISC,就我自己看来,ISC的学生竞赛部分事实上并不如ASC专业,浪潮作为赞助方在为团队们提供支持上也更加尽职尽责,让大家能有一个更好的竞赛氛围——但是同超算在国内的发展一样,怎样努力构建起一个健康的有持续发展潜力的生态环境比起成绩本身更困难,而在将来也会更加重要。

 

 

My ASC Experience —— Friedrich-Alexander-Universität Erlangen-Nürnberg

Having advised teams at both other major Student Cluster Competitions (SCCs) sites—at The International Conference for High Performance Computing, Networking, Storage, and Analysis (SC) in the US and the ISC High Performance (ISC) in Frankfurt, Germany—2017 was my first time at the Asia Supercomputer Community (ASC) sponsored Student Supercomputing Challenge (SSC) in Wuxi, one of the major and very modern cities in Jiangsu province, China.

In 2017, my students and I were very excited about the whole new experience of participating in the Chinese edition of the competition series and we certainly were not disappointed by the organization, assistance, support and selection of the venue. Prior to our departure we were a little concerned about the logistics in a country that neither of us was capable of speaking the language nor to read any of the signs and instructions. In the end, all of our concerns turned out to be for nothing, as everything was perfectly structured and well planned. Starting with the unbelievable “pick-up service” from Shanghai Pudong International Airport and the transport to our hotel, to the daily shuttle service from the hotel to the competition site and especially the support of our amazing student volunteers, who took great care of us throughout the entire event.

While the team did enjoy the competition at the National Supercomputing Center in Wuxi (home of the, by that time, fastest supercomputer of the world), we, the advisors, were able to attend the ASC organized “HPC Connection Workshop” with high-profile experts from the field. One of the highlights in the competition was the workload that the student teams actually got to run on the aforementioned local supercomputer, the Sunway ThaihuLight. This makes a great addition to all of the students’ CVs, as not too many undergraduates can claim for themselves to have received allocations and run workloads on the world’s number one fastest supercomputer.

The second ASC sponsored competition we competed in was in 2018 at the Nanchang University in Nanchang, the capital of the Jiangxi province in China. Again, everything was organized perfectly, and the team and I had a great experience and competition.

Besides the competition and everything “professional” that is surrounding the event I would like to take this opportunity for two things:

1. I would like to explicitly thank one of our key supporters, BayChina , for their continuous effort and backing of our student teams in their ventures at the ASC competitions.

2. The students and I have learned so much from the immediate contact with the student volunteers that helped us in both cities, Wuxi and Nanchang. It changed our perception of the country and the people of China significantly and positively. To me, this is one of the major contributions of these events; especially for western teams with little prior exposure to this, for us, foreign culture. Finally, I want to point out that, for us, this competition is a great com- bination of a professional but friendly contest, exchange and extension of knowledge and cultural expansion. We did enjoy the past competitions and are currently preparing for the new contest in 2019.

Alexander Ditter (December 2018)

 

 

参加ASC世界大学生超算竞赛是怎样一种体验 —— 杨琛 中国海洋大学

一、 参赛体验

在2017年ASC17比赛中,我作为一个小白,观摩参赛队员准备ASC的过程,从中学习知识;一年后,在ASC18中,我作为正式队员参与到比赛中,并荣获二等奖的优异成绩,并有幸能够到南昌对ASC18的总决赛进行观摩,认识了很多优秀的同学,也意识到自己与他们的差距。如今,我的身份变成了ASC19参赛队伍的队长,将带领队员们以最好的表现参与到ASC19中。 其中给我印象最深的是,今年5月份,我们小组来到了南昌,观摩2018年世界大学生超级计算机竞赛的总决赛现场。 通过现场的观摩,我们认识了很多优秀的同学,也意识到自己与他们的差距,这不断激励着我们要不断努力,向更优秀的人学习,取长补短。

在决赛之后,我们又一同参加了专家的讲座会,从中也是受益匪浅,学到了很多的知识。

二、收获

从ASC17时的那个小白,再到如今ASC19的队长,我真的从ASC比赛中收获了很多。我收获了从专业课上所学不到的知识,收获了和队友的友谊,收获了组织领导能力,收获了自学能力……虽然我在比赛中取得的成绩不能说是出色,但我十分感激ASC比赛,它对我产生了极大的影响。它曾严重地打击了我的自信心,但也激发出我的无限潜力;它曾花费了我的很多时间和精力,但也帮我提高了效率。感谢ASC比赛,一个让我站得更高、看得更远的比赛,一个对我的生活产生了重大影响的比赛,希望ASC比赛以后会越办越好,希望有更多的人受益于此!

三、备战经验

作为一个海洋科学专业的同学,我在参加ASC之前真得没怎么研究过计算机,因此在备战过程中补了很多的计算机基础知识,此外还自主学习了与并行计算相关的知识。在实践方面,结合往年的ASC试题以及ehpc网站进行探索,针对自己的疑难问题要及时与老师进行沟通交流。

 

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