Feel like your job doesn’t offer much challenge? Here’s your chance at intellectual fulfillment and proving your mettle! NASA is looking for coders around the world to participate in the High-Performance Fast Computing Challenge (HPFCC). This is a NASA-sponsored competition that is encouraging programmers to work on their FUN3D design software and speed up its fluid dynamics simulation calculations.
FUN3D is a nonlinear partial differential equations solver, and NASA is asking talented programmers to improve its code to make it compatible with the fastest supercomputers around the world. The competition is being supported by NASA’s partners, HeroX and TopCoder.
Michael Hetle, program executive for NASA’s Transformative Aeronautics Concepts Program (TACP), said,
“This challenge is specifically targeted to speed up the CFD portion of our aerospace research. Some concepts are just so complex, it’s difficult for even the fastest supercomputers to analyze these models in real time. Achieving a speed-up in this software by orders of magnitude hones the edge we need to advance our technology to the next level!”
A successful speed boost up will mean the existing FUN3D algorithms start running 10 to 10,000 times faster on the Pleiades supercomputer.
“This is the ultimate ‘geek’ dream assignment,” said Doug Rohn, director of TACP. “Helping NASA speed up its software to help advance our aviation research is a win-win for all.”
And while the speeding up task sounds do-able, it should be noted that there must be no decrease in accuracy of the results. The software is the sole property of the U.S. government and has strict export controls, meaning it is not available to anyone outside the US. The software is also written in Modern Fortran, which is a slightly upgraded version of an old programming language and unfamiliar to many programmers.
But it is worth the trouble because besides winning bragging rights, the first and second place finishers in two different categories can bag up to $55,000.