NEWS FROM NASA AND SPACE

Talented students from communities across the United States recently gained hands-on experience with high-performance computing at NASA. (NASA picture)

(NASA) – Talented students from communities across the United States recently gained hands-on experience with high-performance computing at NASA.

With the help of experts from NASA’s Advanced Supercomputing Division at the agency’s Ames Research Center in California’s Silicon Valley, the students competed in a supercomputing contest.

Twelve teams of undergraduate and graduate students from six historically black colleges and universities and four Hispanic institutions competed in the second annual Winter Classic Invitational Student Cluster Competition.

The competition is a win-win for the students and for NASA: it provides students with first-hand practice in developing skills to prepare them for positions in high-performance computing (HPC) and gives NASA the opportunity to attract the next generation of HPC professionals.

NASA was one of four mentor institutions that took turns hosting the students virtually. During NASA Competition Week, which ended March 12, teams were guided by NASA IT professionals who specialize in optimizing codes to make them run more efficiently and more efficiently. rapidly.

The students performed their computational work on Ames’ powerful Pléiades supercomputer, which is made up of a group of computing nodes connected together to function as a single system.

Pleiades is used by scientists and engineers around the world to help solve some of NASA’s toughest problems in the shortest possible time.

“The students worked very hard throughout the week and all of our preparation work paid off as we saw them progress towards achieving their best performance,” said Sherry Chang, application expert in the NAS division. d’Ames and one of the mentors who guided the students. through their competitive tasks.

“This event turned out to be very rewarding, not only for the students but also for us, the mentors.”

In the months leading up to the workshop, the NAS division’s user support and application experts provided students with everything needed to run their jobs on the Pleiades, created training materials, and hosted Q&A sessions. -answers to help them get started. (NASA picture)

In the months leading up to the workshop, the NAS division’s user support and application experts provided students with everything needed to run their jobs on the Pleiades, created training materials, and hosted Q&A sessions. -answers to help them get started.

The mentors offered advice and encouragement throughout the week of competition, which paid off for the students.

“Thank you all for your mentorship and assistance as we deepen our understanding of high performance computing applications. I feel like I know a lot more now than before this event started,” said Alberto De La Rosa, a student participant from the University of Texas-El Paso.

The 12 teams worked on a problem related to evaluating the performance of parallel supercomputers that run simulations for the design of safe and efficient aircraft and spacecraft. By using modern cluster computers such as Pleiades, a problem of interest can be broken down into smaller tasks.

These tasks, such as simulating the airflow on a new aircraft design, can be simulated separately but simultaneously in the supercomputing cluster, allowing calculations to be performed much faster.

“We were very pleased when NASA signed up as mentors for the Winter Classic 2022, and after observing the training NASA conducted with the students and seeing how much the students learned from this module of the competition, we were thrilled,” said Dan Olds. , director of research at Intersect360 Research, which organized the event.

“The mentorship provided by NASA, along with access to a real-world supercomputer like Pleiades, really got the students thinking about building careers in HPC.”

After several rounds of competition, one member of each team was awarded the Brueckner Award Fellowship by Intersect360 Research. Additionally, the winning team—from Tennessee State University this year—received a $10,000 HPC Jump Start Award to help fund the school’s HPC labs and resources.

This is the first year that NASA has participated in the competition, supporting collaboration with institutions serving minorities.

NAS Division staff represented NASA as one of four HPC data center mentors supporting the competition, along with Oakridge National Laboratory, Amazon AWS, and Hewlett Packard Enterprise.

“It was a rewarding experience mentoring these highly motivated students and we hope to attract some of them to come and work with us,” said Piyush Mehrotra, NAS Division Head at Ames.

“We look forward to competing again next year.”

The 12 NASA-led teams represented these six historically black colleges and universities and four Hispanic-serving institutions:

■ California State University Fullerton

■ California State University Channel Islands (2 teams)

■ Fayetteville State University

■ Florida Agricultural and Mechanical University

■ Morehouse College

■ Prairie View A&M University

■ Spelman College

■ Tennessee State University

■ Texas Tech University (2 teams)

■ University of Texas El Paso

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