Look, ask, learn, have fun
Families experienced hands-on IT at the Leibniz Supercomputing Centre on Maustag 2023, discovering supercomputers, quantum technologies and impressive research results.
Doors open for the Maus of the German TV-Station WDR
Even the sun was smiling over the research campus: on 3 October 2023, the WDR-Maus attracted young and old to Garching. The Technical University of Munich (TUM) and many other research institutes opened their doors to explain science, research results and computer and information technologies. At the Leibniz Supercomputing Centre (LRZ), more than 660 people took part in 64 guided tours to see the first quantum computers and supercomputers, in particular the SuperMUC-NG, as well as the impressive data storage facilities. In the recently upgraded Virtual Reality and Visualisation Centre (V2C), research and simulation results were vividly explained: "Wearing 3D glasses, we could see how the continents of the earth have developed and we flew through a room in Bamberg Castle," says Korbinian (10). And Laura (6) was amazed at how warm it was in SuperMUC-NG, one of the fastest supercomputers in Europe with 311,040 computing nodes: "If you run through it often, you really start to sweat."
Arousing interest and answering questions
Every year, the makers of "Sendung mit der Maus" organise a Mouse Day: when companies, workshops, laboratories, research institutes and universities open their doors to the mouse, children (and their parents or grandparents) are encouraged to discover natural sciences and new technologies, have fun and learn. This year, institutes and initiatives at Garching's Forschungscampus took part in the nationwide campaign: in addition to the LRZ, 14 research institutes and the Munich Quantum Valley opened their doors to the mouse, children and cones. You can learn a lot from them: Scientists can learn a lot from children, and IT specialists are delighted by the interest in their work. "I am always amazed at what children pick up, know and question," says Helmut Reiser with a laugh. The professor of computer science and deputy director of the LRZ presented the LRZ's supercomputers on Maustag. "There, even the little ones ask about processor technology, about CPU or GPU, and with every question I can learn more - exciting". Similar experiences were shared by the 40 or so LRZ staff who enthusiastically looked after the visitors and the organisation on Mouse Day.
Search better and protect your own data
In addition to the supercomputers and virtual research worlds, there was much more for families to discover at the LRZ: together with trainees from the computing centre, they took apart and reassembled PCs, and could touch and examine hard drives, processors and RAM. They also learned how to search for information on the Internet. The Open Search Foundation (OSF) organised some scavenger hunts at the LRZ to help children understand how search engines work and question their own search behaviour. Around 200 young guests took part, often with their parents, including some teachers: "Even the youngest children should know about the pros and cons of internet searches, such as the dangers of revealing private information or the lack of transparency in search results," says Christine Plote from OSF. "They are better off searching using safe alternatives. There was a lot of interest in the topic."
There were also queues for laptops and tablets. On these, the children could play with educational knowledge apps or build up their first programming skills. At the end of the day, SuperMUC-NG was painted on 150 cotton backpacks: a bag full of memories of Maus-Tag at the LRZ and the Forschungscampus. (vs)
Impressions of the Maus-Tag
LRZ opened its doors for the Maus of WDR. Photos: Erika Krimmer/LRZ
Research with all senses: In the LRZ-CAVE, simulations are implemented in VR and can be
be grasped and analysed not only with the eyes.
On the trail of the secret of the mouse: The Open Search Foundation playfully explained
the advantages and disadvantages of searching the internet.
A backpack for memories: The SuperMUC-NG for colouring on fabric bags.
LRZ apprenticeship: Trainees prepare PCs for the absolute endurance test - disassembling
and assembling PC
Look and touch: Touch and assemble processors, RAM, storage disks yourself
We all had fun: The LRZ team is already looking forward to the next Maus-Tag at the
Forschungscampus. Photo: S. Schulte