After a week of rain, more than 500 people seeking to enjoy a sunny day in Perth joined the Pawsey Supercomputing Centre staff and its partners during the second edition of our Open Day to learn more about the importance of supercomputing and the science that is enabled in Australia.
The biennial event at Technology Park, Kensington showcased the wide range of science that has been supported by supercomputers, including Magnus the Centre’s hero, with almost 400 visitors coming to get close and meet it.
It was also an excellent opportunity to celebrate 1 billion hours of Magnus accelerating scientific outcomes with a massive cake that was shared with the attendees.
Minister for Water; Fisheries; Forestry; Innovation and ICT; Science, Hon. Minister Kelly started his day and National Science Week celebrations at the Pawsey Open Day and learning how public research supercomputing has impacted the oil and gas industry in WA from one of our researchers.
The Minister visited partner institutions’ booths outside the Centre. He teamed up with our Executive Director, Mark Stickells, and one of the families attending the event to establish what became the score to be beaten throughout the day, in our beanbag-sorting competition, a game to help understand the concept of parallel computing.
Pawsey Executive Director, Mark Stickells said he was impressed by the increasing thirst that the Perth community is showing for science activities.
“I hope we have made an impact on the youngest participants and inspired them. However, I am convinced that parents enjoyed the opportunity to be awed by the power of our systems but most importantly, took pleasure in meeting the extraordinary team working at Pawsey who are making this possible.”
We look forward to continuing welcoming people from the community to inspire and encourage the next generation of computational scientists.”
‘Geeking out and Chilling out’
There was a myriad of exciting attractions for young and old alike. Energy, Agriculture, Radioastronomy and social sciences were some of the topics showcased by researchers in the visualisation room.
Scientific data was also visualised by attendees who were able to dissect a skull, manipulate a simulation of oceanographic data and gain insight of water and ice molecules.
Representatives from CSIRO Astronomy and Space Science team, The University of Western Australia, Murdoch University and The Curtin Institute for Computation gave the attendees the opportunity to find out more about how to engage with them and how supercomputers have impacted science in Australia.
Visitors to the Open Day had the rare opportunity of walking through the Murchison Radio Observatory – home of the ASKAP and MWA telescopes. The virtual tour of the radio-quiet area allowed visitors to get up close and personal with the antenna that makes up the vast tiles of the SKA project.
Kids were offered the special opportunity to explore, experiment and discover the world of science, technology, engineering and maths at Scitech Science Wonderland live show, in our outdoor setup.
The Cinema marquee offered a bunch of scientific stories from Pawsey and its partners, which were enjoyed with complimentary popcorn and hot chocolate (or coffee for the bigger kids).
The day would not have been done without the enthusiasm of Pawsey staff, who came to share their knowledge with the Peth community who were curious to find out more.
The feedback was generally very positive. One of the attendees said that what he enjoyed the most was the combination of geeking out and chilling out at the same time.
However, we received one special feedback which left our staff speechless and with a feeling of accomplishment:
Congratulations on providing me, a complete Pawsey virgin, with a superb experience. Standing in that room and speaking with the staff provided me with an experience which comes second only to standing in front of the statue of David in Florence. Such power was awe-inspiring for me. I am hopeful that your open day has inspired many of the younger people who I saw attending, to immerse themselves in science. This is an example of my tax dollars being spent in a manner of which I totally approve and congratulations on the upcoming grant allocation.
I believe that your presentations and the material provided to the public will do much to further your cause.
Thank you to Julie!
See you all in two years’ time. Stay tuned for the upcoming events, which will include more Careers Nights to inspire year 10 students, Pawsey Fridays to promote researcher outcomes, Summer Internship to train university students on how to use Pawsey infrastructure and more.
Visit our facebook page to see more photos of the day