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ICHEC at BT Young Scientist & Technology Exhibition 2014


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Posted on 14 January 2014

Building on the success of the ICHEC stand at the BT Young Scientist & Technology Exhibition (BTYSTE) in 2013, ICHEC once again showcased High-Performance Computer (HPC) or supercomputing to primary and secondary level students at the 50th BT Young Scientists Exhibition at the RDS, Dublin, Ireland from 9th – 11th January 2014.

During three jam-packed days, the ICHEC team presented to and engaged with thousands of interested students, parents and special guests at the custom-built stand, which featured interactive displays and visualisations.

Evelyn Cusack, Met Eireann with the girls from Dominican College, Griffith Avenue and the boys from Colaiste Choilm CBS, Dublin Road, Swords at the ICHEC BTYSE stand

Special Guest Evelyn Cusack, from Met Éireann, with the girls from Dominican College, Griffith Avenue and the boys from Colaiste Choilm CBS, Dublin Road, Swords at the ICHEC BTYSE stand.

Stand Description

The stand was divided into four areas, each with demonstrations and interactive elements, staffed by ICHEC personnel and designed to illustrate some of the fundamental concepts and applications of HPC.

1. Mini Supercomputer

A fully operational cluster, PICHEC, was constructed from eight-networked Raspberry Pis (RPis) and housed in a transparent enclosure so that visitors could see the inner workings of the parallel machine. Coloured cables (Power, Ethernet) were used to visually aid the students to understand how the cluster was constructed and how all the networked RPis worked as one. The mini cluster was built as described by Prof. Simon Cox, Raspberry Pi from the University of Southampton in the UK and connected to a display to view various parallel computations including: a parallel Game of Life and ray tracing demo.

2. Phidoku demo

Visitors to the stand had the opportunity to complete against the clock and other players to solve a Sudoku puzzle and win a Raspberry Pi kit, in a new game custom made by ICHEC for the BTYSE, called Phidoku. Contestants were also competing against Ireland’s newest supercomputer, Fionn, as its Intel Ivy Bridge and Intel Xeon Phi processors sought Sudoku grids that could be uniquely solved from only a 17 number hint. Close to three hundred games were played by over 230 students from 145 different schools around Ireland. Each of the three speedy winners, The 5th Years at St. Mac Dara’s, D6W, Peter Duffin from Wellington College Belfast, Co. Down and Thomas Jackson from Trinity College Dublin all completed the Sudoku in under 60 seconds! Congratulations to them all!

Day 2 winners

Phidoku creator Mr. Ruairi Short from ICHEC presents Friday's winner Peter Duffin, Wellington College Belfast with his Raspberry Pi advanced kit. 

3. NVIDIA K20 Demo

The latest technology, K20 accelerator, from NVIDIA was showcased at the stand, with NAMD Molecular dynamics simulations running on the K20 on display. Visitors were able to conduct virtual experiments into the effect of gravity by altering variables and investigating the consequences.

4. Live Presentations

On demand presentations were delivered to students at the stand on all things supercomputing including 3D visualisations of climate and weather simulations.

Dr. Sean Delaney presents during BTYSTE14

Dr. Sean Delany presents supercomputing with 3D visualisations to a group of school children.

Special Guests

The ICHEC teams were thrilled to welcome several special guests to the stand. Evelyn Cusack from Met Éireann attended a 3D presentation on climate change and the weather and kindly spoke to staff and students.

ICHEC booth staff at BTYSTE14

ICHEC staff and Director, Prof. JC Desplat, with Evelyn Cusack from Met Éireann.

Maciej Goszczycki, winner of the ICHEC Coding competition dropped by to chat with the ICHEC team.

Maciej Goszcycki at the ICHEC booth during BTYSTE14

Maciej Goszczycki at the ICHEC booth during BTYSTE14.

ICHEC were also delighted to received a visit from Mr. Christopher Kenny (VP EMEA Industry Sales) from DataDirect Networks at the stand.

DataDirect Networks VP EMEA Industry Sales, Mr. Christopher Kenny & ICHEC Director, Prof. JC Desplat

Mr. Christopher Kenny (VP EMEA Industry Sales) and Prof. JC Desplat at the ICHEC booth during BTYSTE14.

ICHEC also welcomed several former Young Scientist Exhibition winners to the stand including current user Prof. Luke Drury.

Final Comments

The response to the ICHEC stand at 50th BT Young Scientist and Technology Exhibition was extraordinary. The thousands of imaginative, insightful and engaging interactions is a testament to Ireland’s bright and enthusiastic students and their dedicated teachers. We hope that those who visited us now have an understanding and appreciation of supercomputing and its many uses, and that they will be inspired to engage further with HPC in their future careers.

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