Winner of HECToR design competition announced

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Drawing of the earth with a plane, leaf rain cloud, volcanoe, syringe and sun cloud around it.

Lily's winning entry (click to enlarge)

To mark the unveiling of the third phase of HECToR – the UK’s largest, fastest and most powerful supercomputer – in summer 2011, the Research Councils launched a competition to produce a design for the front of the computer. The competition was open to 11-16 year olds with the winning entry being turned into a room-sized picture scanning the front panels of the HECToR supercomputer.

We were delighted by the number and quality of entries we received and have selected a number of these to display on our gallery below.

We are pleased to announce the winner of this competition as Lily Johnson, aged 16, from Hethersett Old Hall School in Norwich. Lily’s entry has already been converted into artwork by a local Design Agency and is now with CRAY, the supercomputer company in the US, to finalise production.

Converting the winning drawing to full scale artwork!

Having decided on the winning design the challenge was to take this drawing, produced at A4 size, and rescale it to fit the HECToR computer cabinet surface area of 8.3 metres in length and 1.8 metres in height!

With the help of a local design agency, the first step was to take a high resolution drum scan of the original drawing in order to obtain a high quality digital file to work with.

Next, the ‘rainbow effect’ background illustrated in the original piece had to be recreated to the correct proportion of the cabinet surface area and produced in flat colours rather than the gradations used in the original.

Each unique illustration was then individually cut-out from the scanned artwork and rescaled and repositioned onto the digitally created background graphic.

Because the artwork had to be substantially enlarged to fit the cabinets, any small imperfections in the original drawing, such as the texture of the paper or any small smudges, were magnified. Some retouching work was carried out on the illustrations to clean up any imperfections, a computer script and a sampling filter were also applied to try and remove as much of this background ‘noise’ as possible, whilst being careful to retain the charm and originality of the hand drawn piece.

The final stage was the inclusion of some typographic styling of the name ‘HECToR’ and placement of the required supporting company logos.

Second prize was awarded to Harriet Wheatley and Alice Salt, both aged 16, from Oxfordshire.

Third prize was awarded to Katie Knox, aged 12, from County Durham.

Highly commended entries gallery