Wee Archie at AAAS 2017

Author: Nick Brown
Posted: 14 Feb 2017 | 12:47

This week I will be going to Boston for the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) annual meeting. This brings together scientists & engineers, not only from the US but the entire world, to discuss the latest developments in the field. 

There are many parts to the meeting, from traditional conference talks, to plenary lectures, to an exhibition and family science days, but it is Wee Archie, our mini supercomputer made out of 18 Raspberry PIs, that drives my involvement with this event.

The UK will have a considerable presence at the meeting, including an exhibition stand which presents some of the interesting and important work being done by UK institutions. HPC is a crucial tool used by many in the academic community for simulation, and ARCHER is a very important UK resource used by scientists as an instrument for developing & testing their theories.

The UK stand at the AAAS meeting will use Wee Archie to illustrate some of the central concepts of supercomputing and provide examples of how they relate to real-world activities. We have quite a few demos for the machine now but the AAAS will be the first time that we'll run our airplane CFD demo.

Building on earlier work that used Wee Archie to model airflow over a wing and display the results, our airplane demo has been extended to compute all sorts of parameters that would be crucial for flight. Participants can then view their wing on a passenger aircraft, see how the easily the aircraft will take off (or not!), and the overall range of the plane on a single tank of fuel. By then tweaking the wing parameters and re-simulating on Wee Archie they can optimise the wing for specific aspects – but it can be a trade-off between take-off performance and range.

There will be lots of other booth activities taking place and also a series of short 10-minute talks during the family days about specific areas of science (I will be talking about supercomputing and the significant impact it has on our daily lives.) It promises to be an interesting and busy few days!

Outreach at EPCC: www.epcc.ed.ac.uk/discover-and-learn


Nick Brown, EPCC