Local teams make it to global AI competition

  • Education
  • Sunday, 02 Aug 2020

TWO student teams are representing Malaysia in an ongoing international Artificial Intelligence (AI) competition.

And one of them is from Curtin University Malaysia.

The third annual Asia Pacific High Performance Computing – Artificial Intelligence (APAC HPC-AI) Competition is running from May 20 to Oct 15 and is co-organised by the HPC-AI Advisory Council and the Singapore National Supercomputing Centre.

This year’s edition of the competition encourages international teams in the Asia Pacific to showcase their mastery of high-performance computing and AI expertise in a friendly yet spirited competition that builds critical skills, professional relationships, competitive spirit and lifelong camaraderie.

Held remotely, the competition is seeing a record number of teams – 30 in total – comprising undergraduate and graduate competitors from some of the region’s leading academic institutions.

The countries and regions represented are Malaysia, Australia, Bangladesh, Bhutan, China, Hong Kong, India, Singapore, Sri Lanka, Taiwan and Thailand.

The winning teams will be announced at the Supercomputing Conference 2020 in Atlanta, Georgia, USA, this November, followed by an official award ceremony at the SupercomputingAsia 2021 (SCA21) Conference which is scheduled for March in Singapore.

The champion team will go on to compete in the 2021 ISC-HPCAIAC Student Cluster Competition in Frankfurt, Germany, next June.

The Curtin University Malaysia team comprises eight undergraduate and two postgraduate students, namely fourth year electronic and communication engineering student Tay Chuan Zhi; third year electrical and electronic engineering students Saad Mahmud, John Julius Danker Khoo and Solomon Haw Wei Wern; second year electrical and electronic engineering students Koh Say Kit, Gan Ting Yu, Sia Chun Wan and Adelson Chee Lok Thien; and PhD students Jonathan Phang Then Sien and Chiam Dar Hung.

Coaching the team is Assoc Prof Garenth Lim King Hann from the university’s Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering.

Chuan Zhi, who is the team leader, said high performance computing for data processing is crucial nowadays, particularly for data analysis in research projects, as there is simply so much data to work with.

“This competition gives students the opportunity to not only compete but also learn.

“It gives us the chance to engage in big data analytics that can be beneficial to our future careers, ” he remarked.

John Julius, who is participating for the first time in an international competition, said: “I am looking forward to expanding my knowledge and applying my practical skills in the real world challenges alongside my teammates.”

According to Prof Lim, the competition exposes students to real-world disciplines and encourages new ways of thinking and tackling problems.

Besides gaining valuable practical experience, they will develop the potential to make a major contribution in solving industrial challenges and shape their own successful outcomes in the future, he said.

“This competition is a good motivation for our students to understand the importance of big data analytics using fast computing to handle industrial problems, ” he added.

Combining classical and novel challenges, the competition includes ‘real world’ scenarios that will test each team’s combined knowledge and skills in natural language processing (BERT) and climate simulation (NEMO).

As part of this year’s competition, the HPCAIAC and NSCC have joined the global fight against Covid-19 and have expanded the competition to address education and applied learning towards accelerating bioscience research and discovery.

The participating teams will be tasked to research, find and choose a high performance computing or AI application that can potentially be used to aid researchers design new drugs and vaccines to combat the virus and better prepare them to provide solutions to future global issues.

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