A 20th anniversary reunion at EPCC

Author: Mario Antonioletti
Posted: 28 Jul 2018 | 15:12

From 1987 until 2001 EPCC ran a Summer Scholarship Programme (SSP), which provided funding for undergraduate students from all over the world to come to EPCC for a ten-week period. General high performance computing (HPC) training was provided during the first week with the remaining nine weeks spent on an HPC-related project and writing a summary project of what was achieved. There was great competition for places, resulting in an extremely high standard of students taking part. This summer the 1998 SSP contingent decided to reunite, 20 years after they first came to Edinburgh as SSPers.

The 1998 student cohort consisted of thirteen students, and seven managed to make it to Edinburgh from various locations including North America and Europe. This provided an excellent opportunity to reconnect with each other, to see Edinburgh again (some with their families), as well as meeting some of the EPCC members of staff who were around in 1998. Some visitors saw the current UK national HPC service (ARCHER, based on a Cray XC30 system). At the time of their 1998 SSP, EPCC was running a UK-wide HPC service based on a Cray T3E. In the space of 20 years we have gone from a 348 cores (Rmax ~ 218Gfp/s) T3E system to a 118,080 cores (Rmax ~ 1642.5 Tfp/s) Cray XC30-based system. 

The SSP brought benefits to both students and EPCC: a highly-skilled set of students was unleashed on the world; some SSP projects were extended beyond the programme; and it proved to be a good recruitment ground for EPCC staff. Two of the 1998 contingent went on to join EPCC, and at least three current members of staff – Neil (SSP96) , Ally (SSP92) and Adam (SSP98) – undertook an SSP before joining us. The programme also resulted in a marriage between a then EPCC member of staff and a 1998 SSPer.

The SSP was finally discontinued in 2001 when EPCC launched its first MSc in HPC, which continued many of the positive aspects of the SSP.

Author

Mario Antonioletti, EPCC