Alistair Grant's blog

Getting Wee Archie online: configuring a cluster for network access

Author: Alistair Grant
Posted: 29 Apr 2016 | 14:42

8x8 LED Matrix Connected to Raspberry Pi

At the tail end of last year, the EPCC Outreach team launched Wee Archie, a Raspberry Pi cluster designed to demonstrate parallel concepts and the type of work that is carried out on supercomputers such as ARCHER. Since the launch, Wee Archie has travelled around the UK including to Oxford, Birmingham and Dundee.

Introducing Wee Archie

Author: Alistair Grant
Posted: 26 Nov 2015 | 15:29

 

The EPCC Outreach team is always looking for new ways to introduce supercomputing to a general audience. Remote connections to ARCHER could be used, but how would audiences know what is happening? Is it really running on a remote system or is it faked? Enter Wee Archie: a portable, functional cluster developed by EPCC to demonstrate applications and concepts relating to parallel systems. 

PERICLES VII: The Borås Encounter

Author: Alistair Grant
Posted: 30 May 2015 | 14:17

The PERICLES project has been running for just over two years now. Its goal is a lofty one - to ensure that today's digital data and art can be preserved for use in the future. Sounds dead easy, no?

A Day (or five) in the Museum

Author: Alistair Grant
Posted: 25 May 2015 | 11:38

explaining the hardware of a supercomputerDid you visit a museum over the Easter break? What did you find? Did you see dinosaurs or supercomputers? Did you solve the puzzle of the Towers of Hanoi? If you were at the National Museum of Scotland, you may have done all of these things in one place.

What do you want to be?

Author: Alistair Grant
Posted: 25 Nov 2014 | 10:03

When you were young, what did you want to be when you got older? It can be easy to become blasé about repetitive answers that children can come up with, but how much of that is our fault as adults? Do we provide enough information about the range of possible careers and jobs available?

Prestonfield Primary in Edinburgh has no intention of this by the looks of things, having organised a careers fair for their P1-P6 classes.

Skills for the future: learning from the past

Author: Alistair Grant
Posted: 24 Oct 2014 | 09:27

Getting young people interested in science, hopefully with a long term view to getting them involved in future science or science-influenced careers, is an important part of doing public outreach. EPCC has being doing this for a little while now, but we are still finding our feet. A lot of our contacts with schools come through personal contacts or connections with children in the school. St Marys Primary, which my eldest niece attends, was keen to have family members of pupils talk about what they do and the subjects they are involved with in a 'Skills for the Future' week. This was a great opportunity to help the school using some of the exhibits we have already got and some new activities being worked on. 

STEM Ambassadors at EPCC

Author: Alistair Grant
Posted: 25 Jun 2014 | 10:21

What is a STEM Ambassador?

This is a UK-wide scheme to encourage young people to take up STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) subjects. A STEM Ambassador is someone who works in a STEM-related field and has an enthusiasm for talking about and demonstrating their work to young people to inspire them to take up STEM-related subjects. STEM Ambassadors are all volunteers who join the programme to share their knowledge and appreciation of the subjects they work in.

A return to St Peter's school

Author: Alistair Grant
Posted: 28 May 2014 | 11:55

About a year ago, we visited St Peter's with our original set of outreach activities. Now in a return to the school we brought along our new and updated activities. The school invited us back to talk to their primary 4 and 5 classes this year, so Jason, Eilidh, Iain and myself went along and installed ourselves in their music classroom.

EPCC @ The Museum

Author: Alistair Grant
Posted: 22 Apr 2014 | 14:20

A visit to the museum is often filled with wonders about the past, other cultures, science and art. For five days in April, a visit to the National Museum of Scotland included an introduction to supercomputers. As part of the University of Edinburgh's programme of family events, EPCC staff and university students were there with a drop-in exhibit: "What Makes Supercomputers Super?". The exhibit had activities which the public, young and old, could interact with and gain insight into how supercomputers support the science being researched at the University of Edinburgh, building on the history displayed by the museum.

EPCC goes doon the water

Author: Alistair Grant
Posted: 31 Mar 2014 | 10:49

This month, Mario, Toni and I took a trip 'doon the water' to Rothesay Academy to introduce some of the concepts of supercomputing to first and second year pupils.

Rothesay is on the Isle of Bute and during the 19th century it was famous for its hydropathic establishments and treatments. Our team had been invited to visit the school as part of National Science and Engineering Week 2014, and we spent the day showing some of the demonstrations developed by EPCC for explaining the basics of supercomputing and its uses. 

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