Summer of HPC at EPCC

Author: Anne Whiting
Posted: 13 Jul 2016 | 14:13

The PRACE Summer of HPC programme offers summer placements at HPC centres across Europe for up to 20 top European applicants. Participants spend July and August working on a visualisation or video related to PRACE technical or industrial work. 

EPCC has successfully offered interesting projects and placements for the Summer of HPC programme for a number of years. This year we offered 3 projects and we were the only organisation to be awarded 3 students. We are also proud to be supporting diversity, with two women in HPC among our three students for the second year running!

Below are summaries of each student's project written by their EPCC supervisor.

Project: Parallelising Scientific Python applications
Student: Marta Čudová, University of Brno, Czech Republic
Supervisor: Neelofer Banglawala

Marta hails from the Czech Republic, where she is currently studying for a Masters in Computer and Embedded systems.

Over the summer, she will be working on parallelising and extending several scientific Python applications, such as a 2D Computational Fluid Dynamics solver, that are a part of our beginners' Scientific Python course (here's our full course listing). Other example applications include computation of the Mandelbrot set, a cellular automaton traffic model, and image processing.

Marta's work will include profiling the serial applications, parallelising them with MPI and ensuring they run on ARCHER. There is also scope for animating some of the applications and applying what is learned to other training courses and outreach programmes, such as as the Wee Archie project. Use of Python in scientific computing is fast becoming popular, and this work will help develop our core Python training material.

Marta is currently in Germany as part of the SoHPC's training programme. We look forward to her joining us for a Python-tastic summer!

Project: Smartphone Task Farm
Student: Anna Gradou, Ethnikon kai Kapodistriakon Panepistimion, Athens, Greece
Supervisor: Amy Krause

This interactive demo will be used at outreach events to show how a high performance computing system speeds up an application by sharing work across many nodes. Visitors will use their own smartphone to join a compute “cluster” and act as a node in a distributed task farm. They will see how their phones contribute small pieces of work that will be joined together to create the final result on a large screen.

Anna will design and develop the demo, which will be based on an existing prototype. Her work will cover the visualisation of the master page, how tasks are assigned to the workers, how they communicate and how the result is collected. There is plenty of scope for extensions such as creating a generic framework that will make it easy to change the parallel application, improve the visual interface, demonstrate MPI applications (passing messages between workers), or even show how not to write a parallel application and why it fails.

The demo is a client-server application with a RESTful web service, written in Python, as the master that distributes tasks to smartphone clients running a HTML5/Javascript app.

Project: Weather forecasting for outreach on Wee Archie supercomputer
Student: Tomislav Šubić​, University of Rikeka, Croatia
Supervisor: Nick Brown

Following earlier successes in the year at events such as the Big Bang Fair, we are looking to create new outreach demos and activities based upon Wee Archie. One of these demos will be designed around weather forecasting and how supercomputers are crucial to producing the weather forecast that we see every day. For the past couple of years EPCC has been developing MONC in collaboration with the UK Met Office and this model will be used as a basis for a new outreach activity that Tomislav will be designing.

Aiming to generate as much rain as possible, the general public will select what they think to be an ideal atmosphere and the MONC model will run on Wee Archie to simulate the resulting weather. These results will be displayed in real time, as Wee Archie simulates the weather, and Tomislav will be concentrating on this graphical side of things.

There will not only be technical challenges to solve over the summer, but also questions about how to make this a fun and compelling outreach activity that will successfully communicate how crucial  supercomputers and simulation are to modern science.

Photograph above shows (left to right): Tomislav, Anna and Marta in Edinburgh's Royal Mile. Thanks to Tomislav for the photograph!


Anne Whiting, EPCC

You can read more about this year's activities on the Summer of HPC blog.