Summer of HPC at EPCC

Author: Nick Brown
Posted: 2 Mar 2015 | 09:33

The PRACE Summer of HPC (SoHPC) offers university students the opportunity to spend two months at a European HPC centre working on a topical summer project.

Having hosted students during the 2013 and 2014 programmes, we at EPCC are excited to be once again involved and will host three students this summer, one per project that we have proposed. 

SoHPC is a great idea. By working on an HPC project not only do the students gain experience and enthusiasm for the field, but also the actual work done on the projects is useful and important too. Many students from previous years have stayed within the community and now actively work, or are completing further study, in HPC. 

Project 1: 'HPC Cluster Challenge’ web app

This SoHPC project will complement our existing outreach activities, by enabling the public to design their own supercomputer via a web app. The aim is to give people an insight into the different components that go into a supercomputer, how these impact performance and the real-world trade off that designers need to make in order to stay within a specific energy and monetary budget.

Whilst this app will be available for people to play with at home, the intention is to hold competitions during outreach events where we will see who can design the fastest machine within a set of constraints. Different machine configurations might suit different applications, so the intention will be to give the participants an insight into what sort of science their intended supercomputer might be targeted towards and some further links about this area.

Project page: An “HPC Cluster Challenge” app for public outreach 



Projects 2 & 3: Fluctuating Finite Element Analysis (FFEA) tool

These projects are all about further developing the Fluctuating Finite Element Analysis (FFEA) tool that EPCC is currently working on.

This tool enables the simulation of large proteins and their cellular environment which is very important because it supports the investigation on a scale between 10 and 500 nm - a range that was previously unobtainable by traditional approaches. One project will be concentrating on the implementation of MPI parallelisation of this code, to allow for many proteins to be simulated very quickly on the latest generation of supercomputer. Going from the current shared memory implementation of this to an MPI version will be a massive step change and open up a vast amount of new science that this application can support.

Project page: Developing the user interface for the Fluctuating Finite Element Analysis (FFEA) tool

Project page: Implementing MPI parallelisation in the Fluctuating Finite Element Analysis (FFEA) tool



However, it is not enough to just run the FFEA tool at very large scale. The scientists also need to be able to easily visualise and interact with the results. This is where EPCC's third SoHPC project comes in - extending the visualisation of the FFEA tool. Visualising the results of larger simulations, translating them into movies, presentations and other media, will expand our understanding of these systems and it is expected that this tool will become the de-facto choice for in silico design & investigation in both the commercial and academic sectors.


If you are interested in spending the summer in Edinburgh working on any of these projects, or in the programme itself, then you can find more information here.  

Application deadline: 8 March 2015.