Budding Engineers Build a Supercomputer

Leamington Spa, United Kingdom, July 17, 2010 --(PR.com)-- From 6th to 9th July, twenty 16 and 17 year-old students descended on the University of Southampton to take part in a Supercomputing course put together by The Smallpeice Trust and delivered in partnership with the University of Southampton’s School of Engineering Sciences and Microsoft.

During this four-day residential programme, students were set the challenge of building a supercomputer from raw components, including processors, memory, and motherboards. They then designed, built, tested and flew their own airliner using the Future Flight Greener by Design system, to make the airliner quieter, cleaner and cheaper. Once the build was completed, students were able to test their designs in the University’s state-of-the-art flight simulator.

This whole experience was overseen by world-leading engineers in the Microsoft Institute for High Performance Computing at the university and allowed students the opportunity to discuss the challenges facing the engineers in this fast-paced and ever-changing field.

Dr Kenji Takeda of the University of Southampton explains, “We need smart engineers to tackle today’s global issues, and these youngsters are the ones who will rise to the challenge. We’ve been delighted with their commitment and drive, and are reassured that by showing them how supercomputers can be used to create a better world, that the future is in safe hands.” Professor Simon Cox adds, “Using Microsoft’s Windows High Performance Computing Server and Windows Azure we were able to demonstrate how powerful supercomputing is now being made accessible to engineers and scientists to enable them to model, understand and improve the world in which we live.”

Spokesperson for The Smallpeice Trust, Gemma Murphy commented “Computers are used in much of today’s technology and have the power to change the future and make a dramatic impact on everyone’s lives. As a country we need more engineers, I think this course has provided some very intelligent young people with a great deal of enthusiasm and drive to go on and pursue a career in this area.”

The Supercomputing in Engineering course is run by the independent educational charity, The Smallpeice Trust, as part of an ongoing programme of residential courses to help young people aged 10 to 18 learn and develop skills in engineering, design, technology and manufacturing. Through running over 32 residential courses and STEM enrichment sessions, The Trust has reached out to around 15,603 students across the UK in the past year.

The new course timetable for 2011 will be launched in September. Places are allocated on a first come, first served basis. To find out more, visit www.smallpeicetrust.org.uk, or telephone The Smallpeice Trust on 01926 333200.


Notes to editors

About The Smallpeice Trust

The Smallpeice Trust is an independent charitable trust which promotes engineering as a career, primarily through the provision of residential courses for young people aged 10 to 18.

The Smallpeice Trust was founded in 1966 by Dr Cosby Smallpeice, a pioneering engineer and inventor of the Smallpeice Lathe. Following the stock market flotation of his company Martonair, Dr Smallpeice invested his energy and part of his personal fortune to set up the Trust to ensure that British industry could continuously benefit from his proven design and engineering philosophies: “Simplicity in design, economy in production.”

The Trust is now governed by an eminent board of non-executive trustees and members from a diverse range of engineering, industry, educational and professional bodies.

Over the past year, The Smallpeice Trust has reached out to around 15,630 young people through 32 different subsidised 4-day residential courses and 1-day in-school curriculum enrichment masterclasses.

A strong interface is maintained with industry, education and professional bodies that help to support, promote and develop the courses. Through these relationships the Trust is also able to provide a number of tailored or specialised courses.

All courses are affiliated to the Royal Academy of Engineering Best Programme and are approved by the Learning Grid quality standard which provides independent assurance that a particular activity will be fit for its stated purpose and offers a benchmark that the activity meets the needs of industry, teachers and individual participants.

For more information about The Smallpeice Trust, visit www.smallpeicetrust.org.uk
The Smallpeice Trust:
Gemma Murphy
01926 333214
or contact:
Claire Ford
01926 333203