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RCAC hosts outreach event for local high schoolers

  • Science Highlights
  • Anvil

The Rosen Center for Advanced Computing (RCAC) recently hosted an outreach activity for the Southport High School Engineering, Computer Science, and Robotics students and the school’s Girls Who Code group. During the event, the high schoolers learned about the Anvil supercomputer as well as RCAC’s Envision Center, where innovation and imagination meet research and education.

On Saturday, April 27th, Southport High School Image descriptionbrought 24 students to Purdue University’s main campus in West Lafayette to tour RCAC’s facilities. The students, most of whom had never before seen a supercomputer, were able to experience a walkthrough of the data center to see the Anvil supercomputer in person. Keegan Adams, a student employee within the CI-XP program, led the Data Center tour alongside Luke Monroe, an Associate Research Solutions Engineer for RCAC. After splitting everyone into two groups of 12, Adams took each group through the Data Center, showcasing the different supercomputing clusters housed on campus. The tour’s main focus was the NSF-funded Anvil system, Purdue’s most powerful supercomputer. The students were able to see the supercomputers in action—hearing the roar of the systems, feeling the heat radiate between the aisles—all while Adams discussed the specifications of Anvil and related personal stories from his time spent helping to build the cluster during his freshman year at Purdue. The students were even able to open Anvil’s doors and take a peek inside at the configuration and build. Once the Data Center tours were complete, the two groups gathered under the breezeway outside of the MATH building for a brief Q&A session, and then followed along as Adams led them to the Envision Center.

Upon arrival at the Envision Center, Adams gaveImage description a 15-minute presentation on Anvil and its capabilities and showcased some of the work completed on the supercomputer. The presentation also highlighted the importance of systems like ANVIL in all realms and contexts of research, from astronomical to biomedical. After the Anvil presentation, Amanda Warren-Glowe, Program Manager for the Envision Center, took the stage. She spoke with the Southport High School students about how Envision enhances research and education outcomes through scientific visualization, virtual and augmented reality, and media creation. Warren-Glowe shared insight into some of Envision’s past projects, highlighting the various ways in which complex research concepts can be effectively communicated. The students were then able to experience some of Envision’s work first-hand by demoing the newly developed Collab XR platform, part of the XR Lab at the center. This platform is a shared environment that allows anyone in a headset to view and interact with the same virtual Image descriptioncontent pieces together, viewed in fully virtual (the entire field of vision is virtual, obscuring all of the real environment, and other participants appear as virtual avatars) or passthrough augmented reality (cameras feed the real room and people to the headset view, overlaying virtual content to appear to exist in the same space). Upon wearing the XR headsets, the students could view supernovas in intricate detail, pass objects amongst themselves, and, importantly, not collide with each other during the experience. Warren-Glowe closed out the students’ trip by answering any questions they had about the Envision Center and its capabilities.

At the end of the day, the students learned a lot, had a blast, and, hopefully, found inspiration for following a path into HPC. If you or someone you know would like to schedule a tour of RCAC’s facilities, please visit here:

More information about Anvil is available on Purdue’s Anvil website. Anyone with questions should contact Anvil is funded under NSF award No. 2005632.

To learn more about the Envision Center’s XR Lab and the Collab XR platform, please watch this presentation from the recent XR Symposium, here: Purdue XR-Symposium 2024: CollabXR. More information about the Envision Center can also be found on the Envision website.

Written by: Jonathan Poole,

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