An Opportunity to Win $55,000, Coders Where are You?
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The rare opportunity for technically advanced persons in computer programming is here. NASA said that if you are good in programming then, your presence is needed. There will be a competition called, “High Performance Fast Computing Challenge (HPFCC)”. You are expected to prove your innate ability to program the computer and to manipulate the NASA’s FUN3D design software and make it faster than the Pleiades supercomputer.

The reason for candidates to participate in this event is to show some proficiency, which would help increase the processing speed of software that the agency uses for aviation research.

If you are good in computer programming and have a spare time, NASA needs you!

National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) in recent announcement said that they will be giving a $55,000 award for impacting its aircraft designing software to run 10,000 times faster than one of the world’s most powerful supercomputers.

It may sound impossible, but NASA believes it could be done by shaving off milliseconds of one or two subroutines of the software.

A prize purse of up to $55,000 will be distributed among first and second finishers in two categories. Code submissions must be done on 29 June, and winners will be announced  on 9th  August.

HPFCC’s total prize of $55,000 will be distributed to the winners, the largest prize of $15,000 will go to the best performer. Helix and Topcoder will select its own winners and complement them with separate award prizes. You are expected to be above 18 years to participate in the competition.

“This assignment was rated an ultimate ‘geek’ dream, and that will be helping NASA speed up its software to advance the aviation research,” said Doug Rohn, director of NASA’s Transformative Aeronautics Concepts Programme (TACP).

The agency said that its main motive is to streamline a piece of software used for aviation research to run on one of the world’s most powerful supercomputers, and to achieve this, NASA teamed up with Topcoder and HeroX to launch the High Performance Fast Computing Challenge (HPFCC).

The language used for developing FUN3D is the Modern Fortran language and it runs on the Pleiades supercomputer. FUN3D code, needs to be downloaded and analysed, to check the performance bottlenecks, and identify the modifications that can lead to reduced overall computational time.

The software is in charge of the first leg of NASA’s “three-legged stool”, for making an approach to aviation research: called computational fluid dynamics, or CFD. The second leg is made up of components to see if the CFD predictions hold true by testing it in the wind tunnels and building scale models of aircraft. The third leg is the building of full-scale unpiloted and piloted experimental aircraft to demonstrate the technology.

For research “stool” to work efficiently, all the three legs must be of the same length, to keep the stool in a balance, NASA said. It is very important that the three legs are of the same length else the whole thing might tip over. And in this case, the speed of the CFD might be slowed down and possibly reduce the speed of NASA’s aviation research, NASA officials said.

There are various concepts in Aviation research that are too complex and can be very difficult for even the supercomputers to analyze in real time, said Michael Hetle, TACP program executive. “To achieve a speed-up in this software considering the orders of magnitude,  there is a great need to advance the technology to the next level.”

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