Dell at the BT Young Scientist & Technology exhibition – Ireland

About the exhibition

Now in its 49th year, the BT Young Scientist Exhibition (BTYSE) brings together 2nd level students to compete for the prestigious accolade of Young Scientist of the Year. The concept was based on the idea of the local science fair witnessed by Rev. Dr. Tom Burke and Dr. Tony Scott while engaged in research in New Mexico. They brought the idea back to Ireland and it has now become an institution within Irish culture.

Last year saw a record 1743 projects submitted for entry by over 40,000 participants making it one of the largest events of its type. This year the number of entries was even bigger.

Reading over previous winners throws up a mixture of all types of endeavours such as ‘Research and Development of Emergency Sandbag Shelters’, ‘Simulation accuracy in the gravitational many-body problem’ or even ‘The Secret Life of the Calluna Case-Carrier’ but it is when you start to delve into the entries that do not make the prizes that it gets interesting, such as “do infected hamsters learn more quickly than those without infection?” Apparently the answer is yes they do!

Dell and the BTYSE

While Dell are not exhibiting at the event this year that does not mean we are not present. Marc O’Regan, Datacentre Compute Specialist for Dell Ireland came to me asking for support for the Irish Centre for High-End Computing (ICHEC), who were putting a stand together for the exhibition. Bausch & Lomb came a slightly different route. They were guests at our Solution Centre in Limerick and caught sight of our 3D projection solution for the education market and said “can we borrow that?” It might be still in pre-production but the solution centre team were eager to show it off, and where better than at the BTYSE?

Irish Centre for High-End Computing (ICHEC)

clip_image002ICHEC had a great idea for a complete show stopper. They took the rather funky Raspberry Pi and grouped 8 of them together to form a supercomputer cluster. They want to show off parallel computations but more importantly how the cluster is constructed.

You can see from the photograph the cluster sits in a Perspex cabinet in the shape of the symbol π. What may be a little more difficult to see is the black unit sitting in the horizontal top section which is a Dell network switch tying all the nodes together.

ICHEC will also be hosting talks on their stand on ‘How to build a Supercomputer’ and ‘Parallel Programming’ as well as a number of other presentations, rounding off each day with a raffle for a Raspberry Pi. I was very disappointed to learn I was not allowed to enter the draw.

Bausch & Lomb

Bausch & Lomb are one of the most respected healthcare companies in the world and produce amongst other things, contact lenses, lens care products, ophthalmic surgical devices and instruments. Their plant in Ireland is based in Waterford and with 1200 employees is the largest manufacturing plant the company operates globally.

Bausch & LombI spent some time talking to John Wadding, principal vision engineer with Bausch & Lomb and it was hard not to get caught up with his enthusiasm for their products.

Pictured at left is Brian, one of the Bausch & Lomb team putting the final touches to their stand. The eagle-eyed among you may spot the Dell Power Solutions Magazines on the counter top.

Continuing with my chat with John it was particularly interesting when it came to the Dell 3D solution. Dell have been making 3D desktops/laptops and projectors for the last number of years. Our customers kept telling us that it was difficult to configure and asked could we make it easier. What Dell is doing is partnering with 3D Content, 3D Glasses and Camera providers to put together a complete solution. The solution is not released to market yet and we are targeting having it ready for launch at the BETT Education show in London on January 29th.

As I said earlier John spotted a demo of the unit when visiting out Solution Centre in Limerick. What really grabbed John’s attention was the fact that the demo training program had a particular slant on healthcare and in particular the human eye. How could John resist a demonstration of a product that in wonderful 3D showed the internal workings of something as wonderful as a human eye. He was hooked and immediately asked could he borrow the unit for demonstration at BTYSE.

Bausch & Lomb #2The picture on the right does not do the unit justice. While I was meeting John on their stand, which was in the midst of being still set up, a group of students, participating in the event, came along and were quickly donning 3D eyeglasses and being taken through a demonstration. It is a powerful tool and quickly demonstrated its power to the students who were, to say the least, mesmerised.

Dell can deliver our 3D solution using a selection of Dell 3D enabled Laptops/desktops and Dell 3D enabled projectors (S320wi, S500wi etc) along with our partners “Xpand” for 3D glass’s and Glass’s/Software from 3D-Hub.

We are already excited about next year when the exhibition celebrates its 50th year.

About the Author: Peter Trevaskis