Day 2: The Big Bang Fair

Author: Lorna Smith
Posted: 15 Mar 2016 | 21:12

Day 2 of the Big Bang Fair and the second day of the build. The event starts tomorrow morning and today was about finishing off the build and ensuring all the demos were tweaked for the show. Having arrived late last night, I avoided most of the heavy build on Day 1 Mario, Alistair and Mirren had obviously had a long day putting things together.

The Big Bang Fair has been months in the planning, many of the demos have been enhanced or are new, new graphic panels have been designed and various fliers have been produced. Hence I was quite excited to see the booth for the first time. Entering the hall it was clear we have a great central position and the stand looks great, so it should be a excellent event for us.

One of the main activities today was setting up Wee Archie to run the dinosaur racing demo, a demo originally developed by a PRACE Summer of HPC Student

Having fixed various problems with the power sources on the booth, Wee Archie was up and running very quickly. Wee Archie is our own mini supercomputer, a mini version of ARCHER, the UK National HPC System. It’s a portable functional cluster that we use to demonstrate applications and concepts of HPC to the wider public.

While Wee Archie was being configured, work was also on-going for our post sort demo, a fun activity that demonstrates the concept of a parallel sort. A very large amount of sorting seemed to go into setting up this activity, particularly for Mario and me, but we made it in the end. We think this demo will appeal especially to the younger children and the letters have been designed to reflect this. I particularly like the ARCHER squirrel stamps.

Nick and Gordon arrived in the early afternoon and the Build your Own Supercomputing App was completed. All the team except Toni have now arrived and, while it does feel a bit like the calm before the storm, we are all looking forward to the event starting now.