Why we should care about supercomputing

Supercomputers already affect our everyday lives, in subtle yet significant ways – forecasting hurricane paths, predicting climate change and making huge breakthroughs in cancer treatment.

They’ve even been described as a ‘crystal ball’ we can use to predict the future… and, yes, maybe one day, they’ll figure out the answer to the ultimate question of life, the universe and everything. Yet outside of the scientific community, these monolithic machines aren’t as well understood as they deserve to be.

To help shed some light on the subject, we spoke to our very own Professor Of High Performance Computing, Simon McIntosh-Smith, to find out more about how we’re all benefiting from the power of supercomputers.

Simon picked up the Outstanding Leadership In HPC Award at the international supercomputing awards – SC18 – this month. He’s also leading a unique new supercomputing project called Isambard, as part of the GW4 Alliance, together with Cray Inc and the Met Office. The Isambard project is exploring the use of mobile technology in supercomputers, in order to build them at a fraction of the cost and make supercomputers more accessible for everyone.

Read more about the Isambard project here

New wing, new opportunities

The Faculty of Engineering has invested £19 million+ in a new wing and refurbishment of the Queen’s Building. Building work started in June 2016 and the space opened for teaching September 2017. Since the opening the space has been used extensively to support hands-on teaching, learning and research. It’s also been used to support our outreach and industrial engagement.

The new and improved facilities include:

The Bill Brown Design Suite (flexible 500sq m divisible flat-bed teaching space)
A student focused atrium
New 500 sqm general Engineering Teaching Lab Space,
Lab write up space
New Propulsion Laboratory
The Sonardyne Electrical and Electronic Teaching Laboratory
10 group and study rooms (6 to 25 capacity), Post Graduate office space, New Café and associated study space,
A new entrance and reception desk to help welcome visitors
New technician’s office
2 small meeting rooms
1 project laboratory
1 Thermodynamics research Lab,
1 refurbished UNDT research Lab and associated office space (including state of the art Faraday cage and laser suite)

Watch the new wing being built and see the final building: