Summer of HPC: Scotland for the summer, seriously?

Author: Guest blogger
Posted: 5 Aug 2016 | 14:37

 Summer of HPC visitor Tomislav Subic writes about his introduction to Edinburgh and EPCC.

“It’s gonna be cold and rainining up there the whole time…”

If I got a pound every time I heard that in the last months, I could buy a kilt (which are not cheap by the way). While most of my fellow SoHPCers are fleeing the north in order to spend their summer on the sunny Mediterranean beaches, I am doing the opposite.

Many will not believe me, but I actually like the weather here. When the only summer you know is +30°, hiding from the sun and sweating in the shade for three months, you kinda try to avoid that. And it’s not so bad as everybody thinks: from the 25 days that I’ve been here, it only rained for 6 days, and by that I mean the real rain, not the 10 minutes light showers that you don’t even need a jacket for. On the other hand, it was cloudy most of the time. The temperatures range from 15° to 23°, perfect if you ask me.

Nevertheless, we enjoyed the few sunny summer hours we had! In Croatia, we don’t really have weather like this; we only have hot summers which turn into cold-ish and windy winters, anything in between is practically nonexistent. I’ll consider this my first Spring/Autumn experience ever!

But let’s go back a few weeks. If you read any of the other blog posts, you probably know that we had a killer training week at the JFZ, which none of us didn’t quite expect to be so awesome. Apart from all the things we learned and the fun we had, I’ll just add that we have all made friends for life. I have made a special connection with my Juelich roommate Anurag, who told me all his life stories and so much more, whom I had to drag out of the bed every morning and with whom I shared late night meals.

Another thing no one wants to mention, but I will, is that my teammate Leon (who also happens to be one of the main coordinators) and me, won the go-kart race. It was wild.

Back to our Scottish experience. I always wanted to visit some place outside Europe, so this came as the perfect opportunity! I have yet to meet my Scottish idol, Gordon Ramsay, who, I have to say, gave me a completely wrong impression of Scottish people. I didn’t hear a single swear word, a little disappointed to be honest. The niceness of the people here still amazes me after a couple of weeks, I guess I am used to different mentality at the Balkans (nothing against that of course!).

Edinburgh is a compact little city, which really has no main square (or at least we didn’t find it), but there are lots of places spread around the city such as pubs and markets where it gets really crowded over the weekends and after work. Certain parts of the city have a brewery smell. I have not yet decided if it bothers me or not.

Another thing we like to enjoy here is the food. From the classics such as fish&chips, haggis or black pudding and to basically anything fried. I’ll just include a picture of the Scottish breakfast which is more of a breakfast, lunch and dinner combined.

A part of the experience is also riding the double-deckers to work  every morning and listening to the sweet music of bagpipes, which always finds a way to you, regardless where you are.

And last, but not least, some words about work and my project. We have all settled in pretty well at the EPCC. Our mentors are really nice and supportive, and we have developed a friendly relationship with them. They are always available for us and do their best to help us out with every problem we might have. I meet often with my mentor Nick, we usually set a task and when I do it, we meet again, talk about the next step and decide what to do next. That can result in a few meetings per day, or a meeting every other day. I have started to do some prototype visualisations of moisture and clouds in the atmosphere, but more on that in my next blog post.

As I come to the end, I realize that this blog post has it all: work stuff, breakfast food, a coordinator spraying champagne, a slick selfie, and an Indian guy cooking.

PRACE Summer of HPC offers summer placements at HPC centres across Europe. Participants spend two months working on projects related to PRACE technical or industrial work to produce a visualisation or video. This post first appeared on the SoHPC blog.