During the first full week of March Appentra ran CESGAHACK18 at the Supercomputer Center of Galicia (CESGA). The six participating teams spent the week learning, discussing solutions and developing parallel versions of their own software.
This is the second GPU Hackathon that Appentra has co-organized with CESGA. This year we were delighted that NVIDIA joined us as a sponsor.
What is the goal of the CESGAHACK hackathon?
In our hackathons, we intend to help scientists who need to process scientific simulations. Our goal is to accelerate the execution time of software, by helping participants to develop their code. The teams spend the week learning the concepts and programming paradigms used in parallel programming and the technologies that allow it, such as OpenMP and OpenACC standards. Finally we introduce our training and development tool, Parallware Trainer, that facilitates both learning and development of accurate and performant OpenMP and OpenACC enabled C software.
In addition, CESGA allows each participant access to the Finis Terrae II supercomputer, providing a platform to test and benchmark the newly parallelised application.
The participating teams
We received amazing applications for the hackathon from multiple countries and scientific domains. However, with limited space we were only able to accept six teams. We hope that those who have been left out we hope that they will return to apply for the next one.
The successful teams covers a range of scientific applications: simulation of geophysical flows, quantum dynamics of reactions, generation and transfer of polarized radiation and simulating industrial production scheduling algorithms. The teams came from the the EDANYA group at the University of Málaga, the Astrophysics Center of the Canary Islands, CSIC of Madrid, the Polytechnic Institute of Cávado and Ave of Portugal, the University of Coruña and the University of Santiago de Compostela.
Meet the teams in these video interviews:
Five days of hard work
The hackathon started on Monday 5th March at 9 am. Each morning began with a hands-on session covering a variety of different concepts necessary to progress code from a sequential to parallel implementation. These sessions, led by Appentra CEO Manuel Arenaz included identifying hotspots by the use of profiling, performance measurement, parallel programming paradigms and introducing parallelism.The middle of each day was spent working with mentors from Appentra and CESGA.
At Appentra we know that to work well you have to eat well! Therefore an important part of each day was the coffee, snacks and lunch breaks, which also provided an important networking opportunity.
At the end of each day each team presented their current progress and where they were within the milestone aligned with developing parallel code.
Over five days, we hoped that each team would reach five different milestones to develop a performant, parallel, implementation of their code:
On Friday, the teams presented their successes and challenges, where they started from, what they had achieved, and their future plans for using GPUs.
Due to the heterogeneity of the team codes, each team progressed differently, but everyone was clear about the goal of executing their software on GPUs even if they had not achieved it during the week. One team (FastTh) committed over 2000 code insertions over 87 unique commits to their Git code repository.
Nevertheless, all teams ended the week on a high, with performance beyond where they started at the beginning of the week, and improved knowledge of the concepts and methodology they need to further improve their code.
After a long discussion with the award committee, we had to make the decision about who would win the NVIDIA GPU GeForce 1080Ti …
Finally, the team that had achieved the milestone with the best results was OceanHySEA, from the EDANYA Research Group, (University of Málaga). The team achieved an outstanding Speedup of 47.8 during just one week. This was the groups second attendance at CESGAHack having participated in CESGAHack 2017.
We hope that the prize will be useful for their tsunami simulation tests!
A Collaborative and Fun Hackathon
The teams did not stop working for 5 days, producing a rich, productive and exciting environment. As in last year’s hackathon, collaboration was the key to success, working together to create science.
There was also time for fun and laughter at a dinner in the downtown of Santiago de Compostela. It was great to be able to build friendships with such great people!
We are delighted to have led such a successful hackathon and we hope to continue helping all these scientists with many more events in the future.
The official video of CESGAHACK 18:
The photos of the event on Facebook.