EPCC and the library visit

Author: Alistair Grant
Posted: 21 Oct 2013 | 10:16

The library in Dalkeith was the setting for EPCC 's event at the Midlothian Science Festival, where we hoped to introduce and explain what supercomputers are and why they are needed.

For most of the visitors, the dinosaur racing and hands-on activities competed for centre stage. Our dinosaur simulation, which has been developed into a racing game where visitors can customise a dinosaur, has sparked off many questions and ideas in the minds of the young and old alike since its debut at the British Science Festival. The young often ask if they could outrun a dinosaur or could you simulate something else, the old ask about the cost and use of supercomputers and software.

The hands-ons proved to be highly popular, with cards and colour balls to be sorted. Groups from the local St David's Primary School visited and turned out to be highly competitive about who could sort them out the fastest. While an entertaining activity, it helps to illustrate how lots of workers can help to speed up the process of solving large problems.

On hand were a selection of supercomputer components to help to show how supercomputer technology has evolved and how modern computers have changed.

Throughout the event there were lots of questions, both related to the exhibits and supercomputing (power consumption and uses) and including more wide ranging questions (like when did dinosaurs die out and did they like chocolate). With such a range of questions, it was clear that our efforts have started to spark off some curiosity about supercomputer, science and what is out there.

We would like to thank the staff at Dalkeith library, led by Thomas Regan, for their efforts and for welcoming us to the library. Thomas set up the visit from St Davids Primary as well. We would like to thank the staff and pupils from St Davids for their enthusiasm and questions. The EPCC staff members who were there all felt the event was well received and worthwhile.

Contact

Alistair Grant, EPCC