The Minister for Education & Skills Richard Bruton and ICHEC launched a competition in a bid to name Ireland’s newest supercomputer which will be made available to all Irish researchers. The supercomputer will be installed in 2018 to replace “Fionn”, the current system in use since 2013. This supercomputer will provide Irish researchers with the High-Performance Computing (HPC) power to address some of the toughest challenges in science and society such as tackling climate change, improving healthcare and innovating Irish products through agriculture, engineering and manufacturing. It will also facilitate emerging technologies such as artificial intelligence, machine learning and earth observation that will foster new skills in the Irish educational system and workforce.
ICHEC is asking primary and secondary schoolchildren in Ireland to choose an appropriate name for the new supercomputer through a naming competition. The competition looks to shine a light on a shortlist of six pioneering Irish scientists and to educate young students about their lives and achievements. Students from a class are encouraged to vote for a candidate accompanied by a short essay, poster or video to support their choice.
“It is important to honour the amazing Irish scientists who have blazed a trail for the current and future generations of scientists” said Prof JC Desplat, Director of ICHEC “We hope that the competition will inspire students to learn about the importance of computing for research and new discoveries, while recognising some of the Irish achievements in science and technology in the past.”
The competition is open to both primary and secondary level classes and the winning submissions (one from each level) will each be awarded eight Rasberry Pi-Tops for their respective classroom. These build-it-yourself laptops are particularly suited to introduce coding and computer science to children through practical experiments and inventions. ICHEC will also provide coding tutorials for the winning classes.
The Competition Candidates
- Kay Antonelli – Computer programmer
- Francis Beaufort – Hydrographer
- Nicholas Callan – Inventor and experimental physicist
- Ellen Hutchins – Botanist
- Richard Kirwan – Geologist
- Eva Philbin – Chemist
Speaking at the competition launch, Minister Richard Bruton said “We are aiming to make Ireland’s education and training service the best in Europe by 2026, which I believe will be integral to our continued national success.
This year’s Action Plan has a particular focus on innovation, with the new Leaving Certificate Computer Science curriculum to be introduced on a phased basis from September 2018, the continued development of the primary mathematics curriculum to take account of computational thinking and problem-solving skills and the use of digital technologies to enhance teaching and learning across the range of teaching and learning services.
The Minister added “The ongoing provision of High-Performance Computing (HPC) resources, principally for researchers in third-level institutions, will be central to facilitating our drive towards excellence and innovation across the education system.”
To enter the competition, visit nameourcomputer.ichec.ie. Submissions can take the form of a short essay, poster or video. Students are encouraged to research all candidates and incorporate their research into their final submission. Submissions for the most popular candidate will be judged by a panel to select the winning entries based on content, technical and artistic merit. All submissions must be made before 12:00 Friday 20th April.