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

10 25 50
 
Description The award had four different highlighted areas: diversity; engagement; outreach; and impact. The following are the most significant achievements of the award in each of these.

DIVERSITY
A key component of the grant was to encourage and promote diversity in supercomputing. Highlights of this work include:
- The nurturing of the Women in HPC Initiative, an organisation dedicated "to encourage women to participate in the HPC community by providing fellowship, education, and support to women and the organisations that employ them." This has grown to a worldwide organisation with 9 Chapters and Affiliates across the world.
- The development of the Faces of HPC website, which contains a series of people case studies, aimed at celebrating diversity in HPC.
- The creation of best practice guides aimed at improving accessibility to HPC training, and using these to improve the accessibility of all our training material.

ENGAGEMENT
The grant also aimed at encouraging greater engagement between the ARCHER service and it's users, helping to reduce barriers for new users and integrate the ARCHER service across the full spectrum of HPC resources in the UK. Highlights include:
- A series of hands-on porting and optimisation workshops. Designed to provide users with individual, tailored help, these workshops reduce the barrier to utilising ARCHER.
- The ARCHER Champions workshops have helped ensure users and service providers from across the UK HPC community have been able to share best practice and develop closer collaboration.

OUTREACH
EPCC has been very active in developing and delivering outreach activities to schoolchildren and the general public. Our aim has been to explain the real-world benefits of the ARCHER service and to encourage young people to consider careers in computational science. Key highlights include:
- A series of events at large science festivals, including the Big Bang Fair in Birmingham, New Scientist Live in London and the Edinburgh International Science Festival.
- The development of "Wee Archie". This is a mini supercomputer made from Raspberry PIs and has been used very successfully at outreach events.
- The development of an ambassadors' pack and teachers' pack, to encourage and support Supercomputing outreach beyond the local team.

IMPACT
Demonstrating the impact of the science being carried out on ARCHER is very important and a key component of this award has been to create material to do this. Highlights include:
- Running an annual Image competition, resulting in a series of calendars with engaging images representing the high quality science being carried out on ARCHER.
- The production of a set of accessible case studies that have been used at events and online to showcase ARCHER science.
Exploitation Route This award has allowed a set of outreach demonstrations and resources to be developed, resources that will be used for many years to come at different science events by the researchers involved in the award and by others within EPCC.
Sectors Aerospace, Defence and Marine,Chemicals,Education,Energy,Environment,Other

 
Description Through the lifetime of this research grant and beyond, we have been very active in developing and delivering outreach activities to schoolchildren and the general public. A core focus on the activities has been to engage with people across the UK, reflecting the fact that ARCHER is the UK's National Supercomputer. We have regularly provided booths and workshops at three large science events, taking place across the country: Big Bang Fair in Birmingham; New Scientist Live in London; and the Edinburgh International Science Festival. This has been augmented with school visits and smaller science festivals across the UK. As a whole, the impact has been to a) introduce the possibility of a career in computational science to school children and b) explain the real-world benefits of the ARCHER service to as wide a group as possible. Every event we do increases the coverage and exposure of Supercomputing to the general public. A key component of the grant was to encourage and promote diversity in supercomputing. As an organisation we feel passionate about inclusivity and about supporting young people to consider careers in STEM, no matter their gender identity, sexual orientation, social background or ethnicity. During this grant we were one of the founders of the Women in HPC organisation; this organisation has steadily grown and the impact is now being seen worldwide. For example, in 2018 the organisation introduced HPC Chapters, creating chapters across the world. Through a series of workshops, seminars and support and development schemes, the impact of this organisation has led to increased awareness, support and encouragement for diversity across the HPC industry. The materials and resources developed during the lifetime of the grant will continue to be utilised to demonstrate the impact of Supercomputing on the wider world.
First Year Of Impact 2015
Sector Aerospace, Defence and Marine,Chemicals,Education,Energy,Environment,Other
Impact Types Societal,Policy & public services

 
Title ARCHER Early Career Website 
Description Website highlighting the success of early career researchers on ARCHER. In particular, the winners of the US-UK travel fund, a competition for early career researchers that EPCC ran on behalf of EPSRC. 
Type Of Technology Webtool/Application 
Year Produced 2017 
Open Source License? Yes  
Impact Promoting collaboration between US-UK. Promoting use of HPC to early career researchers. 
URL http://www.archer.ac.uk/community/earlycareer/earlycareerindex.php
 
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 Outreach Ambassadors Pack 
Description This pack contains material and information describing a set of HPC outreach activities, covering the importance of Supercomputing to the general public, the ways Supercomputers are used, and ways to engage school children in future careers in computational science and related areas. The pack is aimed at HPC practitioners to support them undertaking Outreach activities. 
Type Of Technology Physical Model/Kit 
Year Produced 2018 
Impact Will lower the barrier for HPC practitioners who wish to do more Outreach therefore increasing the range and geographical distribution of outreach activities in this area. 
URL https://www.epcc.ed.ac.uk/ambassadors-pack
 
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 Teachers Pack on Computational Science 
Description Information pack and activities to support teachers in teaching HPC/computational science to school children. Includes a series of activities that teachers can use in school across a term in support of the national curriculum. 
Type Of Technology Physical Model/Kit 
Year Produced 2018 
Impact This will help encourage and engage schoolchildren in computational science and HPC. 
 
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 AAAS 2018 RC-UK Booth in Austin 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Public/other audiences
Results and Impact Part of RC-UK booth at AAAS 2018 annual event in Austin. Ran demos on Wee Archie.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2018
URL http://meetings.aaas.org/
 
Description AAAS RC-UK Booth in Boston 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Public/other audiences
Results and Impact Part of RC-UK booth at AAAS 2017 annual event in Boston. Ran CFD demo on Wee Archie. Gave booth talk about HPC & supercomputing aimed at families.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2017
URL https://www.aaas.org/event/2017-aaas-annual-meeting
 
Description ARCHER Champions Workshop (Hartree Centre, Daresbury Laboratory) 
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 covering: benchmarking, ISO9001, Tier-2, novel user engagement, Ambassador Pack,...
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2017
URL http://www.archer.ac.uk/community/champions/workshops/hartree_jun2017/
 
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 Big Bang Fair 2018 
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 have a booth at Big Bang Fair 2018 at the NEC in Birmingham.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2018
URL https://www.thebigbangfair.co.uk/
 
Description Big Bang Fair 2019 
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 have a booth at Big Bang Fair 2018 at the NEC in Birmingham.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2019
URL https://www.thebigbangfair.co.uk/
 
Description Birds of a Feather Session at SC, USA 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact BoFs on Outreach and Diversity at premiere HPC conference in USA
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2016,2017,2018
URL https://sc18.supercomputing.org/
 
Description Birds of a Feather session at ISC, Germany 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact Organised BoF on HPC Outreach at major international conference in Germany
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2018
URL https://www.isc-hpc.com/
 
Description Edinburgh International Science Festival 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Public/other audiences
Results and Impact Hands-on activities: workshops and drop-in sessions. Talks. Demos on Wee ARCHIE.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2015,2016,2017,2018,2019
URL https://www.sciencefestival.co.uk/
 
Description HPC Champions Workshop 2020, Bath 
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 Integration with New Tier-2 Centres; plans for ARCHER2; collaboration with co-located HPC-SIG
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2019
URL https://www.archer.ac.uk/community/champions/timetable.pdf
 
Description HPC Champions Workshop at RSEConUK 2019, Birmingham 
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 Workshop aimed at broadening ARCHER Champions scope to include Tier-2 and other HPC facilities.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2019
URL https://rse.ac.uk/conf2019/
 
Description HPC Champions Workshop at UK RSE, Birmingham 
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 Workshop aimed at broadening ARCHER Champions scope to include Tier-2 and other HPC facilities.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2018
URL https://rse.ac.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 IET, London 
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 Outreach booth at IET (The Institution of Engineering and Technology) schools event. Used Wee Archie and CFD demo.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2017,2019
 
Description NERC - Unearthed 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Public/other audiences
Results and Impact Interactive showcase for NERC science at Dynamic Earth in Edinburgh. Outreach booth with weather demo on Wee Archie, and sorting activity.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2017
URL http://www.nerc.ac.uk/latest/events/archive/unearthed/
 
Description New Scientist Live 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Public/other audiences
Results and Impact The Outreach team attended New Scientist Live, a large outreach event at the ExCel in London. During the three days, the booth had around 2000 visitors and provided an ideal opportunity to show the importance of HPC to the public.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2017,2018
URL https://live.newscientist.com/new-scientist-live-2017
 
Description The Big Bang Fair 
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 2016,2017,2018,2019
URL https://www.thebigbangfair.co.uk/
 
Description Wee Archie at Future Emerging Art and Technology (FEAT) 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Public/other audiences
Results and Impact Wee Archie was part of the Future Emerging Art and Technology (FEAT) exhibition between April and June 2017 at the Dundee Life Sciences gallery. This was part of an art piece, and brought Wee Archie and hence HPC to a completely different audience with a different approach and style used by the visiting artists.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2017