Aspen Elementary; Los Alamos Middle School Students Take First In 26th Annual Supercomputing Challenge

Aspen Supercomputers from left, Max Corliss (7th), Ming Lo (5th), Andy Corliss (6th) and Phillip Ionkov (6th). Courtesy/LAPS

LAPS News:

Andy Corliss, Phillip Ionkov, Ming Lo of Aspen Elementary, and Max Corliss of Los Alamos Middle School won first place for their project, “Solving the Rubic’s Cube 2.0,” Tuesday, April 26 at the 26th New Mexico Supercomputing Challenge at Los Alamos National Laboratory.

The “Aspen Supercomputers” created a three-dimensional simulation of a Rubik’s cube, a national favorite brain-bending puzzle, as well as an implementation of a cube-solving algorithm. They also won the Most Professional Presentation award for their efforts.

“The goal of the yearlong event is to teach student teams how to use powerful computers to analyze, model and solve real-world problems,” said David Kratzer of Los Alamos’ High Performance Computer Systems group, and executive director of the Supercomputing Challenge. “Participating students improve their understanding of technology by developing skills in scientific inquiry, modeling, computing, communications and teamwork.”

About the Supercomputing Challenge

Founded in 1990, the New Mexico Supercomputing Challenge is a nonprofit educational organization that sponsors an annual computational science competition for middle- and high-school students in New Mexico.

The Supercomputing Challenge is sponsored by Los Alamos National Laboratory, Los Alamos National Security, LLC, the State of New Mexico, and generous industry partners across the country.

Scholarships worth more than $13,000 were awarded at the Supercomputing Challenge Expo. Many other awards were distributed ranging from random $100 gifts for finishing the academic marathon to team prizes for teamwork, programming prowess, and environmental impact.

The Challenge’s positive impact on New Mexico is widely acknowledged. David Williams, a Challenge judge from IBM, said: “I’m really inspired by some of the kids I met today.” Kaley Goatcher of Honeywell said: “The Supercomputing Challenge is a great experience for students to get involved with science, computing, and math before entering college. The event challenges students to change the world, one project at a time.”

For more than a quarter century the Supercomputing Challenge has:

  • helped state high school graduates go on to succeed at college in STEM areas;
  • improved the information-based economy of New Mexico by promoting computational thinking;
  • increased New Mexico’s international competitiveness in smart manufacturing;
  • helped middle and high school students meet common core standards with academic excellence in math modeling, science and technical writing; and
  • created a culture of collegiality and professional development among the New Mexico educator community.