ASC20-21 Finalists Will Search for Pulsars from FAST Data - World’s Largest Single Aperture Radio Telescope

Beijing, China, April 26, 2021 - The 2020-2021 ASC Student Supercomputer Challenge (ASC20-21) Finals will take place from May 8 to 12, 2021. 28 teams, which qualified out of over 300 teams from universities all over the world, will face a challenging task - pulsar search. They will use the open-source software, PRESTO (PulsaR Exploration and Search Toolkit), and real observational data gathered by FAST (Five-hundred-meter Aperture Spherical Radio Telescope) to search for pulsar signals within the shortest time possible. This task is supported by the National Astronomical Observatories of Chinese Academy of Sciences (NAOC).

Radio telescopes are used to search for pulsars by detecting radiation emitted by pulsars. FAST is the world's largest single-aperture and most sensitive radio telescope. Officially opened to the world recently, it will boost China's collaboration with international scientific community to make breakthroughs in galaxy evolution, origins of matter and life, gravitational wave detection, and further exploration and understanding of the universe. Pulsars’ unique physical properties make them a cosmic laboratory for physics research under extreme conditions. Acting like cosmic clocks, pulsar signals are of great importance for cutting edge solutions such as spacecraft interstellar navigation.

RF interference and massive observational data present significant challenges in pulsar search. For example, FAST generates 6GB of data per second or several petabytes per month. To crunch such a large amount of data, scientists need to use powerful supercomputers and optimized pulsar search software, such as PRESTO, to process and analyze the signals.

The PRESTO task of ASC20-21 requires participating teams to discover pulsar candidates from FAST’s real astronomical observation dataset while minimalizing computational time and resources. It requires a thorough understanding of pulsar detection, as well as advanced analysis and optimization of PRESTO software run on supercomputers. The competition task will boost their knowledge across disciplines like mathematics, astronomy, and computer science, and will inspire the future talent in science and engineering for exploration of the universe.

Want to know more about the Pulsar, PRESTO, and FAST?  Want to feel the excitement from world's top hackathon? Join us at ASC20-21 Student Supercomputer Challenge!


About ASC20-21

The ASC20-21 Student Supercomputer Challenge is jointly organized by Asia Supercomputer Community and Southern University of Science and Technology. The onsite finals will be held at Southern University of Science and Technology in Shenzhen from May 8-12, 2021. The Top21 teams from Mainland China, and the Top7 teams outside of Mainland China - which will participate in the finals virtually, will optimize applications and have their results presented in English in front of the jury. Teams will compete for various awards including the Champion, Silver Prize, the Highest LINPACK, and e Prize.

About ASC

The ASC Student Supercomputer Challenge is the world’s largest student supercomputer competition, sponsored and organized by Asia Supercomputer Community and supported by Asian, European, and American experts and institutions. The main objectives of ASC are to encourage exchange and training of young supercomputing talent from different countries, improve supercomputing applications and R&D capacity, boost the development of supercomputing, and promote technical and industrial innovation. The first ASC Student Supercomputer Challenge was held in 2012 and since has attracted nearly 10,000 undergraduates from all over the world.

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