Welsh students recognised for smashing 1,000 mph Supersonic Cymru challenge using supercomputing skills

More than 200 children were recognised for their hard work in the Supersonic Cymru Challenge Awards at Swansea University this week (Thursday, May 21).

HPC Wales Supersonic Cymru eventLed by High Performance Computing (HPC) Wales, the innovative competition was inspired by the Bloodhound SSC project and challenged Key Stage 3 students to utilise high performance computing technology to simulate a car that would break the world 1,000 mile per hour land speed record. Over 30 teams from 10 Schools in Wales rose to the challenge, with all smashing the record 1,000mph target.

At the Awards event, students had the opportunity to present their findings to a panel of judges. Following a fascinating demonstration of a portable ultrasound machine on volunteer teacher Ian, Becky Holmes of Science Made Simple presented awards to the winning teams; joint first prize for the Best Presentation went to Sonic Boom from Llantarnam School and Flame from West Monmouth School: Prize for the Fastest Simulation at 1,051.4mph went to Blood Army from St Julian’s School.

Spokesman for the team, Dewi, said: “I am overjoyed that we won, not just for ourselves, but for our School. This has been an amazing experience and has inspired us all to study more and break more boundaries.”

Laura from Flame, joint winner of the Best Presentation, said: “I’ve really enjoyed the Supersonic Cymru Challenge because it has given me skills in engineering, science, maths and technology which I didn’t have before. It has also given me lots of life skills such as cooperation, team work and time management.”

Winning teams received models of the Bloodhound Supersonic Car (SSC), will have their name printed on the tail fin of Bloodhound SSC and will also get the opportunity to see the real car in a test run later this year.

By taking part in the Challenge, students gained first-hand experience of real-life digital engineering platforms and were able to access a web portal and state-of-the-art aerodynamics analysis software, especially designed by Welsh business Zenotech.

Supercomputing technology provided by HPC Wales was utilised to systematically modify the design of the car through the analysis of distance, speed and acceleration data, generated alongside classroom experiments to better understand the impact of sound and aerodynamics.

Part-funded by Welsh Government, HPC Wales led the Supersonic Cymru project in conjunction with Fujitsu, Technocamps, Swansea University and Zenotech, with funding from Schools Challenge Cymru.

Karen Padmore from HPC Wales who opened the event, said: “At HPC Wales, we hope to contribute to the growth of skills in the STEM sector and help inspire the next generation, opening their eyes to the wide range of potential careers available.

“Through leading this exciting Challenge we have seen there is a keen interest in technology and science amongst many school children. Projects like this help us demonstrate how their interest and talent can potentially lead to a rewarding future career."

Ceremony attendees also heard presentations from Professor Steve Wilks, Swansea University’s Pro-Vice-Chancellor, Dr Ben Evans, CFD Engineer at Bloodhound and Senior Lecturer in Aerospace Engineering at Swansea University’s College of Engineering, and David Standingford from Zenotech.

Dr Ben Evans said: “The Bloodhound project is all about inspiring a new generation of engineers and scientists. I’ve been so pleased with the interest we’ve had in the Supersonic Cymru Challenge, and delighted that such a large proportion of the students who took part have developed a keen interest in STEM subjects as a result.

“These early practical experiences are invaluable in forging a passion for a subject, and I hope there will be many more to follow.”

Image caption: Fastest Simulation winners Blood Army, Dr Ben Evans, Bloodhound and Swansea University (left), and Becky Holmes, Science Made Simple (right). 

**This is a HPC Wales news release - http://www.hpcwales.co.uk/**