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Showcasing High-Performance Computing (HPC) at the BT Young Scientist & Technology Exhibition 2014

ICHEC stand at the BTYSTE 2014. Evelyn Cusack from Met Éireann and the ICHEC booth staff. Crowd surrounding the ICHEC stand at BTYSTE 2014. Evelyn Cusack from Met Éireann presenting the weather in 3D to students from Dominican College, Griffith Avenue. Evelyn Cusack from Met Éireann and girls from Dominican College, Griffith Avenue. Special Guest Evelyn Cusack, 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. Mr. Christopher Kenny (VP EMEA Industry Sales of DataDirect Networks) and Prof. JC Desplat at the stand. Maciej Goszczycki, winner of the ICHEC Coding competition in 2013 with a compute blade from the Stokes cluster. Mr. Ruairi Short and Mr. Christopher Kenny (VP EMEA Industry Sales of DataDirect Networks) at the Phidoku demo. Mr. Ruairi Short and a contestant of the Phidoku game. Phidoku creator Mr. Ruairi Short presents Friday's winner Peter Duffin, Wellington College Belfast with his Raspberry Pi advanced kit. Dr. Sean Delaney and a group of students during a 3D weather presentation.

Building on the success of the ICHEC 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 BTYSTE, 9th-11th January 2014, its 50th Edition. During three jam-packed days at the stand in the World of Science & Technology Hall ICHEC displayed a fully configured live mini "supercomputer", PICHEC, built from the Raspberry Pi boards, 3D scientific visualisations of climate and weather data, and presented the latest in accelerators/coprocessors and ran introductory sessions into HPC. In addition visitors to the stand had the opportunity to complete against the clock to solve Sudoku puzzles in a game called Phidoku. Time lapse footage of the booth can be seen in the video below.

Stand Design

A similar layout was used in 2014 with the additional of an additional counter top.


ICHEC Stand at BTYSTE Plans.

The banners were again designed by Proviz Ltd. and can be seen below:

ICHEC BTYSTE2014 Booth Banner LHS ICHEC BTYSTE2014 Booth Banner RHS

ICHEC Stand Design at BTYSTE 2014.

Stand Promotion

The following flyer was used to promote the stand:


Download Flyer - PDF Version

Stand Description

The stand was divided into four areas: 1) Mini supercomputer, PICHEC; 2) Phidoku Game 3) NVIDIA K20 Demos; 4) Live presentations in 2D and 3D.

Mini Supercomputer

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

Phidoku Game

Phidoku Main Screen

Phidoku Main Screen.

Phidoku was a new game developed for the event where players completed against the clock and other players to solve Sudoku puzzles. 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!

A more detailed description of the game can be found here.


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

Live Presentations

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

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. Maciej Goszczycki, winner of the ICHEC Coding competition 2013, dropped by to chat with the ICHEC team. Mr. Christopher Kenny (VP EMEA Industry Sales of DataDirect Networks) visited the booth. DDN kindly sponsored the giveways and prizes for the Phidoku winners. We also welcomed several former Young Scientist Exhibition winners to the stand including chair of Royal Irish Academy Prof. Luke Drury. Images can be seen above.

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.