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The Smallpeice Trust

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Teenagers Use Supercomputing to Design Future Aircraft with the Smallpeice Trust

Twenty-four budding engineers from across the UK recently took on the challenge of designing future aircraft at the University of Southampton. Organised by The Smallpeice Trust and delivered in partnership with the University’s Faculty of Engineering and the Environment and Microsoft, the course opened up the eyes of the 16 and 17 year-old students, showing them how computers influence how we live, what we do and where we travel.

Leamington Spa, United Kingdom, July 24, 2013 --( During the four-day residential programme in July, students were set the challenge of building high performance computers from scratch, using components including processors and motherboards. The students applied a range of Microsoft technologies, including Windows Azure, .NET Gadgeteer and Touch Develop, to the design of future aircraft to make them quieter, cleaner and cheaper. They were put through their paces when they took the controls in the University’s state-of-the-art flight simulator. They also toured the University’s pioneering mu-VIS 3D imaging service and the Iridis High Performance Computing facility with 12,000 cores of compute power - the largest UK Consortium-owned supercomputer on a University Campus.

The course was overseen by world-leading engineers from the Microsoft Institute for High Performance Computing at the University. Students had the opportunity to learn more about the challenges facing engineers and the career opportunities available in this fast-paced and ever-changing field.

The social aspect of the course included a games night, a harbor cruise and a formal course dinner on the final night where students and supervisors socialised and shared their experiences of the week.

Professor Simon Cox of the University of Southampton explains, “The students are very motivated and keen to learn about new technologies. It has been great to welcome them to the University of Southampton. During the course they have been working on projects showing how a whole range of computing tools - from high performance computing to smartphones - are used in Engineering. I am really impressed with their enthusiasm as they have got their hands on the kinds of tools and technologies that we use in research to model and understand the world and improve the products that are designed by Engineers.”

Spokesperson for The Smallpeice Trust, Lucy Kelly commented, “Computers have the power to change the future; they have a massive impact on everyone’s lives as they are integrated into so much of what we see, do and learn. This course has demonstrated to some very intelligent and enthusiastic young people just how important this subject is and what a great impact they could have if they decided to pursue a career in this area.”

The Supercomputing course is run by independent charity, The Smallpeice Trust, and is part of an on-going programme of residential courses to help young people aged 13 to 18 learn and develop skills in engineering, design, technology and manufacturing. Through running residential courses and STEM enrichment days, The Trust has reached out to 20,353 students across the UK in the past year.

The new course timetable for 2014 will be launched in the autumn school term. Places are allocated on a first come, first served basis. To find out more, visit, 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 12 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.”

In the past academic year, The Smallpeice Trust has reached out to 20,353 young people through 33 different subsidised residential courses, 1-day in-school STEM Days and STEM-in-a-Box kits. The Smallpeice Trust has also trained 913 teachers to enhance their delivery of STEM in the classroom.

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.

The University of Southampton:

The University of Southampton is a leading UK teaching and research institution with a global reputation for leading-edge research and scholarship across a wide range of subjects in engineering, science, social sciences, health and humanities.

The University is also home to a number of world-leading research centres including the Institute of Sound and Vibration Research, the Optoelectronics Research Centre, the Institute for Life Sciences, the Web Science Trust and Doctoral training Centre, the Centre for the Developmental Origins of Health and Disease, the Southampton Statistical Sciences Research Institute and is a partner of the National Oceanography Centre at the Southampton waterfront campus.
Contact Information
The Smallpeice Trust:
Gemma Murphy
+44(0)1926 333214
Or Contact:

Isobel Rowley, National Grid Press Officer on 01926 655275 or

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