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 harbour 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 explained: "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.
More information is available at www.smallpeicetrust.org.uk