Here we provide a number of self contained activity descriptions that you could use and adapt for your own events. These have taken to various different types of events and we are constantly trying to evolve and improve them - for the latest versions see our GitHub repository. These are free to use and are licenced under CC BY-NC-SA.
- sort-activity.pdf: this document describes a sorting of coloured objects activity. You can get one person to sort as many coloured objects in a fixed amount of time and then get multiple people to see how many objects you can sort in the same amount of time. This shows you how parallelism can be used, you can get simplified speed-up curves and you can discuss points of contention and why there are limits to the performance scalability.
- message-passing-sort.pdf: this document describes a more involved sort where a list of numbers is sorted among a number of participants using message passing. This requires some coordination and explanation from a facilitator and thus is more suitable to a classroom or workshop environment and not a high throughput environment as would be encountered in a science festival environment.
- parallel-sums.pdf: this document describes a way of performing sums in parallel either using a coordinator managing a set of worker nodes or by using a peer based mechanism that does not require a coordinating process.
If you do use any of these activities we would welcome your feedback. If you would like to contribute your own activities then please get in touch.