The Centre for High Performance Computing’s (CHPC) national team is part of 82 university students from 11 countries that spent a month working feverishly on a cluster located at the National Supercomputing Centre of Singapore to try to win the overall prize of the International Supercomputing Competition (ISC) 2020 Student Cluster Competition.

South Africa is participating for the seventh time in the competition and has made it to the podium each time, winning three times, coming second twice and third once.

The ISC Student Cluster Competition went virtual this year and ran from 1 June to 24 June 2020. As part of this year’s competition, the ISC organising committee joined the global fight against COVID-19, and the competition included applications that address education and applied learning towards accelerating bioscience research and discovery. The student teams were tasked with testing several applications that are used by scientists and researchers to find cures against the virus.

Team South Africa is made up of six undergraduate students from Wits University and the University of the Western Cape, namely Guy Axelrod, Victoria Bench, Michael Beukman, Sivenathi Madlokazi, Alungile Tshangela and Mikhail Vink, as well as two reserves from the Universities of KwaZulu-Natal and the Western Cape, namely Kalreen Govender and Stephanie Agenbag. The team proceeded to the international round after winning the national one held in December 2019 at the CHPC’s National Conference in Johannesburg. Team South Africa is one of the only teams made up of undergraduate students and is also one of the few that does not have the same participants twice.

The ISC Student Cluster Competition encourages international teams of university students to showcase their expertise in a friendly, yet spirited competition, that fosters critical skills, professional relationships, competitive spirit and lifelong comradery. Since 2011, ISC has focused on introducing science, technology, engineering, and mathematics students to the world of possibilities that is High Performance Computing (HPC) – its leaders, opportunities and community, and helping develop critical skills that students will use long after completing their current studies. Each team comprised six students and up to two advisers, competes in the competition and takes part in the world’s oldest, and Europe’s premier, conference and networking event for the international HPC community.

Over the intense competition days, the teams demonstrate incredible capabilities to obtain the greatest performance across a series of benchmarks and applications. In parallel to their day-to-day learnings, the students’ novel approaches and unique perspectives gained during the competition are integral to our own education – teaching us how HPC influences our world.

To watch the virtual awards live, please register here, the awards begin at 9am, 24 June 2020.