Wednesday, 5 February, 2014
Last autumn 200 pupils learned how to design their own 1,000 mph cars.
11 to 14-year-old pupils from 12 Bristol schools took part in SPEED: Beat the Bloodhound, a team-based competition, led by David Standingford and Jamil Appa from Zenotech Ltd, part of a pilot education programme funded by a Royal Academy of Engineering Ingenious grant for public engagement.
SPEED challenged key stage 3 students to design and race a virtual supersonic car using state-of-the-art web-based software. Simulations were run on the University of Bristol's advanced Blue Crystal supercomputer, which has the computing power of thousands of home PC's, to calculate each designs maximum speed. Teams then had the opportunity to study the run data, exactly like Bloodhound's engineers, and improve their design before racing again. Over 7,000 simulations were completed using the online platform.
Finding the right aerodynamic shape for a 1,000 mph car is an immense challenge, one that took Bloodhound's aerodynamicists over 30 years of design time using the same state-of-art computational fluid dynamics software and one of the world's biggest computing clusters to mathematically map the airflow over the car.
Simon McIntosh-Smith, Head of the Microelectronics Group and Senior Lecturer in High Performance Computing and Architectures at the University of Bristol, said "This is a fantastic and rare opportunity for school children to use Blue Crystal, one of the fastest supercomputers in the world costing millions of pounds.
"With it they can compete with their friends and with teams from across the country, trying to come up with the fastest possible Bloodhound 1,000mph car design, by using the power of high performance computing and computer-based simulation, the same kinds of techniques used by Formula 1 teams to design race-winning cars."
See this news story for more information.