Visitors flock to Open Day
10 Aug 2017
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STFC's Scientific Computing Department opened its doors at the Rutherford Appleton Laboratory (RAL) today, to give members of the public a chance to see some of our remarkable computing power and a peek at the visualisation work we do.

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​​​​​​​​​​​​Visitors view some of the supercomputers at RAL

 Credit: STFC/ Marion O'Sullivan

​During the STFC Open Day on 10 August people were able to join tours of all of the national facilities on the campus and see some of the exciting equipment we have on site - such as massive Space vacuum chambers, powerful lasers, supercomputers and synchotrons.

Here in the Scientific Computing Department  groups of visitors viewed our impressive Data Centre, which houses some very powerful computer systems. People heard about the Tier-1 facility which stores huge amounts of data coming from the Large Hadron Collider experimets at CERN;  SCARF, which is used by the STFC national facilities for experiments such as analysing the behaviours of potential new cancer drugs or simulating icy planetary materials; and JASMIN - a globally unique platform for computing and storing  environmental data.

Visitors then went on to see how we visualise data coming from experiments in other national facilities, including the ISIS neutron and muon source, the Central Laser Facility and the Diamond Light Source​​.  The visualisations bring data to life and enable scientists to explore results of their experiments ​in 3D, and in near real-time. 

Visualisation demo.JPG

Another popular activity in the Atlas Visualisation Facility​, particularly with our younger visitors, was the virtual-reality headset which enables scientists to test, in a virtual environment, how particular equipment will work for their projects.  The activity gave visitors the chance to experience this type of virtual-​reality environment.

Many of our staff took time out of their busy day jobs to  demonbstrate what we do and engage with our visitors so a big "thank you!" to all of them. It was well worth the effort as everyone enjoyed their time with us. One visitor who came with her family said, "It was a truly amazing visit enjoyed by us all", while another commented "Really fabulous" when asked if she had enjoyed her day.​

Contact: O'Sullivan, Marion (STFC,RAL,SC)

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