NASA HPFCC FUN3D Fortran competition canceled

On June 16, 2017 NASA announced the cancellation of its FUN3D Fortran supercomputer code improvement competition originally announced May 2, 2017.

The extremely high number of applicants, more than 1,800, coupled with the difficulty in satisfying the extensive vetting requirements to control the public distribution of the software made it unlikely they would achieve the challenge’s original objectives in a timely manner. NASA looked at several alternatives to keep the challenge design intact – things like significantly extending the challenge performance period, and offering a much smaller portion of the code. Neither were considered viable options.

For a one-of-a-kind competition, 1800 participants is a large number, considering the need to verify US citizenship and that the work was done on a personal PC. As a comparison, the notable ACM ICPC competition has several thousand participants each year in teams of three.

Considering the Fortran programmer demographic, for which I don’t have any data offhand, but from my very subjective perspective has a substantial component of senior career scientists and tenure track professors, I was surprised to see 1800 entries. It may be that a substantial proportion of HPFCC entrants were new to Fortran but experienced with HPC.

It would be interesting to get demographic info on the HPFCC entrants as a snapshot of the future of the Fortran language.

Consolation prize: HeroX Fortran Storytelling competition (ended July 2017) with $1750 in prizes

Further competition: Making industrial cloud competitive with supercomputers

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