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The original NVIDIA blog post announcing the success is rather a marketing story, but another post published by the team — Benedikt Schifferer, Gilberto Titericz Junior, Chris Deotte, Christof Henkel, Kazuki Onodera, Jiwei Liu, Bojan Tunguz, Even Oldridge, Gabriel De Souza Pereira Moreira, and Ahmet Erdem — on Medium is an interesting read. They explain how their GPU-based solution (4 x V100) is around 25 times faster than an Intel Xeon CPU (20 Cores). The team sees the high speed of their pipeline as a key contributor to their success.
Our approach achieved the highest score in seven of the eight metrics used to calculate the final leaderboard position. The acceleration of our pipeline was critical in our ability to quickly perform exploratory data analysis (EDA) and led to discovering a range of effective features used in the final solution […] Our GPU-optimized pipeline enabled us to quickly iterate on new ideas and run many experiments in a short time, giving us a competitive advantage to win this year’s competition.