April 2013

Innovative Learning Week 2013

Author: Mark Filipiak
Posted: 23 Apr 2013 | 10:45

For one week in February, the University of Edinburgh suspends traditional lectures, tutorials, and labs and supports a programme of alternative learning activities: Innovative Learning Week.

EPCC runs the MSc in High Performance Computing (HPC), teaching students the tools and techniques they require to program modern parallel computers.  During Innovative Learning Week, students from the MSc in HPC took part in three activities: developing an exhibit to explain HPC concepts to 7-12 year old children, writing a mobile app for learning numbers in Japanese, and building small computing clusters out of scrap (and not so scrap) computing hardware.

The APES Project

Author: Arno Proeme
Posted: 23 Apr 2013 | 10:23

The picture of a great ape cousin hoarding food at Edinburgh Zoo is deliberately misleading!  The "APES" acronym (pronounced "A-PES") actually stands for Advanced Potential Energy Surfaces, and refers to a new project that EPCC is involved in. The project in question is an NSF-EPSRC funded US-UK collaboration that aims to incorporate APES into a range of computational chemistry packages. EPCC's main contribution will be to parallelise software to take advantage of the large-scale compute resources offered by supercomputing clusters such as HECToR and its upcoming successor, ARCHER, as well as NFS-provided resources in the US. This should equip researchers with better tools to advance their understanding of the structure and function of molecules such as, hypothetically, the smell molecule isoamyl acetate (shown), which interacts with simian olfactory receptors to give bananas their irresistible allure. Isoamyl acetate  

St Andrews and Heriot-Watt join us for this year’s facilities sharing event

Author: George Graham
Posted: 23 Apr 2013 | 09:50

This year’s facilities sharing event, Get Your Kit Out Too, takes place on June 11 and with the usual funding for equipment severely squeezed, why not come and see what's on your doorstep, and how it can work for you? There will be talks, exhibitions and networking to help you discover the kit and facilities available at the College of Science and Engineering and find out how you can access them. Building on last year's successful and informative day, this year's event will also feature facilities from outwith the College, including those at Heriot-Watt and St Andrews universities.

MSc guest lecture podcasts now available

Author: Iain Bethune
Posted: 19 Apr 2013 | 14:08

Podcast audio and slides taken from the EPCC MSc 2013 Guest Lecture series are now available for download  from: 

Opening OpenACC

Author: Ruyman Reyes Castro
Posted: 19 Apr 2013 | 10:57

Programmability of GPUs (or accelerators in general) has improved since the days of the OpenGL shaders. First CUDA, and OpenCL later, have evolved to offer a reasonable way of programming efficient algorithms onto GPUs. However, despite this improvement, there is still a lot of effort involved in the development of code for accelerators. This is inevitable sometimes: if you have a particular algorithm and you want to have the maximum performance possible for a particular accelerator architecture, and you have the time to do it, you can immerse yourself in the marvellous world of CUDA/OpenCL low-level optimisation and stop reading. If time is critical for you, as it is for me, then you will love the latest advance in accelerator programmability: OpenACC.