ARCHER Outreach: Promoting HPC Diversity, Outreach, Impact and Engagement

Lead Research Organisation: University of Edinburgh
Department Name: Edinburgh Parallel Computing Centre

Abstract

ARCHER is the UK's national supercomputer, a very fast and powerful computer used to carry out research using computer simulations. Supercomputers differ from standard home computers in that they have many thousands of processors instead of just one or two. Supercomputers can therefore perform calculations that would not be practical or possible on a standard computer in your home. These tasks could not be run even on the best laptop or desktop computer available. In some cases, tasks would run but would take years to complete. In others, the task could not be run at all because too much data would need to be held in memory simultaneously.

Simulations on ARCHER are addressing many of the UK's current challenges within society. Examples include: the development of efficient renewable energy sources to meet the UK's energy and environmental targets; the forecasting of extreme weather events to provide vital early warnings; the design of new drugs and technologies to address current health challenges; the modelling of turbulent flow over vehicles to improve fuel consumption and/or performance; and even simulating how dinosaurs walked.

One aim of this proposal is to demonstrate these benefits to the general public through a series of outreach activities. A set of exciting and accessible demonstrators will be developed and taken to science festivals across the UK. A resource pack specifically designed for teachers will be developed, as will a set of accessible case studies.

A second aim is to encourage equality and diversity within the supercomputing community. The project will look to motivate and encourage wider participation in computational science and supercomputing, through teacher resources, on-line resources and tailored events.

Planned Impact

The ARCHER service facilitates high quality science from a broad range of disciplines across EPSRC's and NERC's remits. The outcome is science that generates significant societal impact, improving health and overall quality of life in the UK and beyond. This science influences policy and impacts on the UK's economy. The science on ARCHER covers the spectrum of EPSRC and NERC strategic themes including the digital economy, energy, global uncertainties, healthcare technologies, living with environmental change and engineering. The aim of this proposal is to capture and showcase this impact.

The primary beneficiaries of the impact from ARCHER are:

- The general public, through enhanced quality of life and health;

- Policymakers and stakeholders through improved policy and agendas;

- Secondary school children, undergraduates and early career researchers through enhanced opportunities and improved economic outcomes;

- Society, through the diversification of the HPC talent pool, and the benefits resulting from research and support teams more representative of the society they serve;

- HPC professionals and ARCHER users through improved skills and opportunities leading to economic impact.

Publications


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Title Diversity in HPC Website 
Description A website containing short interview/biographies of current and past HPC practitioners, demonstrating diversity through a broad range of backgrounds. 
Type Of Technology Webtool/Application 
Year Produced 2016 
Impact This resource showcases the diversity of the HPC community, and the variety of careers available to those working with HPC. The aim is to further increase the participation in HPC, irrespective of gender, ethnicity, age, family or any other personal characteristic. 
URL http://www.hpc-diversity.ac.uk/
 
Title Supercomputer App 
Description An App that gamifies the design of a supercomputer, balancing the desire for advanced components against budget and power efficiency. 
Type Of Technology Software 
Year Produced 2015 
Impact The Supercomputer App has been showcased at a number of conferences (e.g., SC15) and events (e.g., ARCHER Launch, outreach events, the Big Bang Fair). It allows people of all ages to get a better understanding of the trade-offs involved in PC design. 
 
Title Wee Archie 
Description Raspberry Pi-based mini-supercomputer for Outreach events. 
Type Of Technology Physical Model/Kit 
Year Produced 2015 
Impact Demonstrated at Big Bang Fair (https://www.thebigbangfair.co.uk/) 
URL http://www.epcc.ed.ac.uk/education-training/supercomputing-outreach/news-events-and-projects/wee-arc...
 
Title Wee Archlet 
Description Wee Archlet is a very small parallel computer (built out of Raspberry Pis and Lego) designed for outreach and educational purposes. Wee Archlet is designed to be cheap and easy to build while still demonstrating the key concepts of parallel computing. On-line instructions will be available for download by schools and community groups wanting to build and configure a system themselves. 
Type Of Technology Physical Model/Kit 
Year Produced 2016 
Impact Demonstrated at SC16 (http://sc16.supercomputing.org/), Big Bang Fair 2017 (https://www.thebigbangfair.co.uk/), and various outreach visits and workshops. 
 
Description ARCHER Champions Workshop (Leeds) 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact ARCHER Champions Workshop held alongside HPC-SIG.

Focus on Tier-2.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2017
URL http://www.archer.ac.uk/community/champions/workshops/leeds_feb2017/
 
Description ARCHER Champions Workshop (Oxford) 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact Summary Report for ARCHER Champions Workshop 2
Josephine Beech-Brandt
October 2016

The second ARCHER Champions Workshop took place in Oxford (thanks to OeRC) in September
and was a lunchtime-lunchtime one day meeting, including an evening meal.
There were 25 attendees, 10 of which had attended the first Champions workshop, and 3
bursaries were awarded to cover reasonable travel and accommodation costs.
There was an in-depth look at the eCSE activity, a session on the newly announced KNL system,
and updates from other sites. Time for discussion sessions was included.
Topics Covered:
• HPC Service Provision for the UK
• GPU Provision
• KNL on ARCHER
• ARCHER SAFE Updates and Developments
• Outreach activities using Wee Archie as a focus
• Getting started on ARCHER
• More in-depth look at the eCSE activity
Outcomes:
• Good number of attendees with 10 repeat attendees (expand if possible in future)
• Feedback from the attendees (overall very positive)
• Discussion sessions went well (try to include more in future, one each half session)
• Champions making use of ARCHER Champions Project time
• Good to get more external contributors and plan to increase for Champions 3
• Look to monitor what Champions are doing
• Opportunity to engage with users and Tier-2 sites
• Slides were all placed on the Champions website
• Slack channel within RSE space was created
• Use of Champions email for Training and Tier 2 for local dissemination
• Next Champions event with HPC-SIG in Leeds in February with focus on Tier 2 and
Training
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2016
URL http://www.archer.ac.uk/community/champions/workshops/oxf_sept2016/
 
Description ARCHER Champions Workshop 2016 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact This was a workshop to develop a network of HPC support staff and researchers throughout the UK who will promote the use of ARCHER and other HPC facilities.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2016
 
Description Big Bang Fair 2017 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Schools
Results and Impact ARCHER Outreach again ran a booth at the Big Bang Fair 2017 at the NEC, Birmingham. This event had around 80,000 schoolchildren over 4 days. The ARCHER booth had a number of hand-on events related to supercomputing.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2017
URL https://www.thebigbangfair.co.uk/
 
Description Hands-on Porting and Optimisation Workshop 2015 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact This workshop helped new users port their code on to ARCHER, and helped current ARCHER users improve their codes performance and scaling.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2015
URL https://events.prace-ri.eu/event/380/
 
Description The Big Bang Fair 2016 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Schools
Results and Impact ARCHER Outreach ran a booth at the Big Bang Fair at the NEC, Birmingham. This event had around 80,000 schoolchildren over 4 days. The ARCHER booth had a number of hand-on events related to supercomputing.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2016
URL https://www.thebigbangfair.co.uk/