aql welcomes students from the University of Leeds

Academics, researchers and students from the University of Leeds School of Mechanical Engineering and School of Computing visited aql at their Salem Church offices on 9 May 2013 for a presentation on datacentre design and thermodynamics by Dr Adam Beaumont.

Adam, aql’s founder and CEO who was formerly a lecturer in thermodynamics: the study of the flow of heat, at the University of Leeds, rolled back the years to give a lecture on all things aql, pointing out the challenges of running an efficient datacentre and the fact that yesterday’s Leeds University students are today’s datacentre operators.

The presentation was given in aql’s conference auditorium, the view through the glass floor of which gave many of the visitors their first glimpse of a working datacentre.

The party from the University of Leeds were also treated to a tour of aql’s datacentre facilities and given insight into the various environmental and security measures employed to safeguard sensitive data and equipment.

These students are the datacentre technicians of the future,” said Dr Beaumont. “It’s vital that they get the opportunity to see a datacentre firsthand in order to really appreciate how they help facilitate everyday life.

It’s also important that everyone in the digital sector works together to foster a wider understanding of what datacentres do. As our appetite for data continues to grow so will the digital sector, so we need to share knowledge now so we can lay a solid foundation for the future.

That’s why we built our conference auditorium: for the good of the Internet. And that’s why we’re building this partnership with the University of Leeds.

Many of the visitors were surprised to discover such a facility on their doorstep. Eric Atwell, Associate Professor within the university’s School of Computing said: “It was really interesting for me and my colleagues … to see a real working example of a successful datacentre, just ten minutes away from our university campus.

We were interested in seeing and hearing about the computer and cooling systems. I was also impressed by the way aql has turned the upper gallery of the old chapel space into a plush conference auditorium for large-scale visits and presentations. Maybe aql should consider becoming a tourist attraction to show off the Leeds datacentre like Cadbury’s World shows off the chocolate factory in Birmingham!”

Paul Townend, a research team leader with the university’s School of Computing commented: “The opportunity to visit aql’s facilities and talk with key members of their staff has been incredibly useful to the School of Computing.

Our academic staff have learned a great deal about the research challenges faced by the industry and our students have been inspired by the many career opportunities the industry provides. We feel this trip will serve as a catalyst for close future collaboration between aql and the School of Computing in the development of internationally-leading software technology.

Dr Jon Summers of the university’s School of Mechanical Engineering helped to organise the event as part of a drive to raise awareness of the importance of datacentres.

The University of Leeds is engaging researchers and undergraduate students in both the Schools of Computing and Mechanical Engineering to become more aware of what datacentres are about and their modern requirement of being a fully integrated system,” said Dr Summers.

Being able to visit a real operating datacentre, and one that has become so important to the city of Leeds as a digital hub, is extremely important for our academics and students and this is only made possible through aql’s collaboration with the university.

Dr Beaumont also gave a detailed tour of DC3, aql’s IL5 rated datacentre.

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