NASA seeks coders for ultimate challenge

Programmers sought to speed up Pleiades supercomputer

For a programmer, this is a challenge equivalent to climbing Mount Everest. Officials at the NASA Ames Research Center announced last week that they are seeking talented code wizards to help tap the full potential of the massive Pleiades supercomputer.

Considered one of the fastest supercomputers in the world, Pleiades and its 210,000 processors still can't handle the near-insatiable demand for data-crunching among researchers. At any given time, 300 or more research projects are simultaneously running on the machine and hundreds more are waiting for a turn. NASA engineers have designed their own software dubbed FUN3D to allocate this computational power, but they believe this code could be streamlined to make it much faster.

Taking a cue from other successful crowdsourcing campaigns, NASA officials are now inviting independent programmers to take a stab at boosting Pleiades' performance. They note that even an algorithm tweak that shaves off a few milliseconds could be dramatic, especially if that code is cycled through millions of times.

NASA and its private partners are offering a prize purse of $55,000 split between the top programmers in two categories. The deadline to enter is June 29. More information on the challenge can be found at here.

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10 people like this
Posted by Resident
a resident of Old Mountain View
on May 10, 2017 at 5:14 pm

I wish them luck, but $55,000 split among "top programers" won't entice any programmers who are good at this stuff, they're extremely valuable.

This is also only open to US citizens, which greatly limits their choices.

Now, assuming that people do want to work on this, it's a lot of really difficult work! Back in the day when SGI sold supercomputers, I used to write this kind of parallel software, NASA was one of our customers, and I helped out with such problems, so I know what's involved. This is kind of like crowdsourcing a cure for a specific type of cancer, there's just too much special knowledge required which shrinks the "crowd" down to a few people.

3 people like this
Posted by the_punnisher
a resident of North Whisman
on May 11, 2017 at 3:23 pm

the_punnisher is a registered user.

Hey, SGI bought our company after John Rollwagen screwed us bigtime. We always joked that we could buy sgi with our pocket money...then John Rollwagen came along and sgi bought *our company* with their pocket money. I think my ex-wife ripped me off of my shares of stock while sgi controlled our stock investments...$100,000 worth.

14 people like this
Posted by @the_dummisher
a resident of Another Mountain View Neighborhood
on May 11, 2017 at 5:23 pm

But enough about *you*...

Sorry, but further commenting on this topic has been closed.

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