Students from high school to grad school levels invited to participate in programming contest at XSEDE13 high performance computing conference

High school, undergraduate and graduate students are invited to participate in the XSEDE13 Student Programming Contest. Registration for the contest will open April 30, 2013 and close May 30, 2013.

The contest will take place as part of the XSEDE13 conference in San Diego, Calif. XSEDE, the Extreme Science and Engineering Discovery Environment, is a National Science Foundation-supported project that brings together supercomputers, data collections and computational tools and services to support science and engineering research and education. The annual XSEDE conference focuses on the science, education, outreach, software and technology used by the XSEDE and other related communities worldwide.

The XSEDE13 Student Programming Contest

Teams consisting of up to five students (high school, undergraduate and/or graduate students) will be given ten problem sets from various scientific problem domain areas. To accommodate travel impediments, at least one team member is required to be physically present at XSEDE13, since all program development, testing and deployment are restricted to the onsite computational resources. The contest will be based on Bootable Cluster CD operating system (BCCD, and the LittleFe cluster ( Contestants are encouraged to familiarize themselves with them before the contest.

Sample problem descriptions will be available for review on April 30, 2013, at New sample challenges will be posted each week for the three months prior to the onsite competition. Full problem descriptions and data sets will only be accessible to the teams on the day of the actual event. Students will have the bulk of the day, from 8:00 am until 4:00 pm, to submit code and solutions to as many problems as they choose. Part of the judging criteria will involve documentation of the team's activities. 

The evaluation criteria in ranking and awarding team honors will be:

  • All solutions must be able to run on the LittleFe platform using existing software on the Bootable Cluster CD (BCCD).
  • Good software engineering: Each problem should have clearly-written documentation, which explains how to run the program and the approach taken by the group toward a solution.
  • Source code must also be provided, which should be clear, concise and written in one of the following programming languages: C, C++, FORTRAN, Perl, Python and/or Java.
  • Program Speed: The graders will time the program using the Linux time command, and more points will be given for faster programs.
  • An analysis of results should be included, and is encouraged to include visualization. No points will be lost if a visualization is not included, but points will be lost if there is no analysis of the results.
  • Parallelism: An explanation of how the program can be made parallel should be included. Bonus points will be given for actual parallel implementations that use MPI, OpenMP, pthreads and/or CUDA.
  • Speedup and scaling analysis: An explanation of the speedup (the amount by which a parallel program runs faster than its serial program counterpart) and scaling (the proportionate change in speed achieved by increasing the number of processors) of the parallel program should be included. If no parallel implementation is provided, this analysis should instead include an explanation of the theoretical speedup and scaling.

For further information about what to do before, expections during and rules of the competition, as well as judging, awards and how to register a team, please visit

Registering for the conference

Student participating in the XSEDE13 Student Programming Competition must be registered as part of the Student Program for XSEDE13. For more information on the XSEDE13 Student Program, please visit To register for the XSEDE13 conference, please visit Team proposals must be submitted via the XSEDE13 Student Programming Competition Submission site at All competition questions can be sent to Kathy Traxler, Education, Outreach, Training, at or 225-279-2540.