EPCC does some Explora-thoning

Author: Doug Rocks-Macqueen
Posted: 16 Oct 2014 | 14:23

 

Explorathon (also known as European Researcher’s Night Scotland) was a one-day public outreach event showing some of the work funded by the European Commission in Scotland.

EPCC staff working on European projects Adept and CRESTA joined other researchers from Heriot-Watt and Edinburgh universities in explaining their research to 700 people at Dynamic Earth here in Edinburgh.

While the event was called European Researcher’s Night, it was during the day that EPCC showcased its work. Over an afternoon EPCC staff talked with some of the hundreds of participants who came to Dynamic Earth. In the case of the Adept project, they were discussing energy-efficiency in parallel computing. That work covers all sorts of computers from supercomputers to smartphones. Many of the participants were keenly interested in having their smartphones last longer on a single charge because it would be more energy efficient.

The CRESTA project talked about how EPCC is tackling the exaflop challenge to make a computer that can do one exaFLOPS worth of computing. An exaflop is a thousand petaflops, or 1018 floating point operations per second. To put that into perspective, that is the processing power of the human brain. CRESTA is helping to get computers to the same level as the human brain.

The day was not all about research though, DinoRacing was on hand too. Using a program created for another EPCC project, participants created their own digital dinosaurs and raced them to see what made a dinosaur run faster, or not at all. This was very popular. As one of the children who did it remarked, “You go on, Mum. I just want to race dinosaurs till dinner.”