Tokyo Tech News

SuperCon 2015 -- 21st supercomputing contest for high school students


Published: September 11, 2015

Twenty teams that passed the preliminaries for the 21st Supercomputing Contest (SuperCon) gathered to solve assigned problems at Tokyo Tech and Osaka University from August 17 to 21, 2015. SuperCon, held every summer, is a contest in which teams of two to three high school or technical college students compete by creating programs for supercomputers.

SuperCon 2015 group photo at Tokyo Tech
SuperCon 2015 group photo at Tokyo Tech

Outline of SuperCon

SuperCon started in 1995 at Tokyo Tech. The contest is affectionately called Cyber Koshien, a reference to the wildly popular National High School Baseball Championship at Hanshin Koshien Stadium also held in August.

The underlying premise is that both PCs, which students are very familiar with, and supercomputers, operate on the same basic principle. However, if a PC is thought of as an ordinary passenger vehicle, then a supercomputer is a race car. The question is whether the ideas and skills behind the students' programming can elicit this race car-like super performance.

In order to acquire the necessary skills, workshops and materials are provided in advance to participating high school students. Graduate students also work as tutors and give advice to contestants during the SuperCon event. Still, students must ultimately come up with their own innovative ideas which they utilize in their programs.

SuperCon 2015 group photo at Osaka University
SuperCon 2015 group photo at Osaka University

Topical issues as assigned problems

The assigned problems in the contest are cutting-edge issues from a variety of scientific and technical fields. Although designed for high school students and presented in an easy-to-understand manner, the problems are challenging. Teams compete in terms of both accuracy and speed, with the judging committee evaluating the outcomes.

This year, the general theme of the assigned problems was "Discovering chemical oscillation patterns." Participants competed to solve three programming problems by optimizing pattern-matching algorithms and accelerating cyclic cellular automata computation on the new supercomputer in the Cybermedia Center at Osaka University.

SuperCon 2015 cyclic cellular automaton video:

SuperCon 2015 awardees

In recognition of outstanding program performance, the Institute of Electronics, Information, and Communication Engineers and the Information Processing Society of Japan awarded the Institute Prize to the winning team on August 21. The top three teams were also awarded certificates and medals by Vice Director Shinji Shimojo of the Cybermedia Center at Osaka University.

Institute Prize Winner

  • Team gomaba from Senior High School at Komaba, University of Tsukuba

Top three teams

Correct answers
Total runtime
Senior High School at Komaba, University of Tsukuba
104 seconds
Kurume National College of Technology
280 seconds
National Institute of Technology, Akashi College
316 seconds

Team gomaba, SuperCon 2015 winners
Team gomaba, SuperCon 2015 winners