LANL: Students Showcase Projects At 27th Annual Supercomputing Challenge

Los Alamos National Laboratory. The Supercomputing Challenge is project-based learning geared to teaching a wide range of skills: research, writing, teamwork, time management, oral presentations and computer programming. Courtesy/LANL

LANL News:

  • Team-based research highlights a wide range of skills

More than 200 New Mexico students and teachers from 55 different teams will come together April 24-25 at the  Jewish Community Center in Albuquerque to showcase their computing research projects at the 27th annual New Mexico Supercomputing Challenge expo and awards ceremony.

“It is encouraging to see the excitement generated by the participants and the great support provided by all the volunteers involved in the Supercomputing Challenge,” said David Kratzer of the Laboratory’s High Performance Computing Division, the Los Alamos coordinator of the Supercomputing Challenge.

The Supercomputing Challenge is project-based learning geared to teaching a wide range of skills: research, writing, teamwork, time management, oral presentations and computer programming. Any New Mexico elementary-school, middle-school or high-school student is eligible to enter the Supercomputing Challenge. A full list of this year’s submitted reports is here.

After the students present their projects they will visit exhibits and demonstrations by several Sandia Laboratories scientists, faculty from New Mexico universities and others. They will also travel to nearby technology companies to learn about some of their state-of-the-art activities. In addition, the Supercomputing Challenge rented the Nuclear Museum of Science and History for the students to visit, which was sponsored by Lockheed Martin.

Kratzer said the challenge provides a pipeline of potential future employees for the Laboratory.

Fifteen Los Alamos National Laboratory employees, 30 Sandia National Laboratories employees and another 45 individuals from universities and businesses have volunteered to work on the year-end activities. The Los Alamos researchers will serve as finalist, expo and scholarship judges at this year’s challenge.

Sponsorships and Awards

Eastern New Mexico University, the New Mexico Institute of Mining and Technology, New Mexico State University and the University of New Mexico, along with Cray Inc., have come together to give away $10,000 in scholarships to graduating high school seniors.

Other sponsors include the New Mexico Technology Council, the Los Alamos National Laboratory Foundation and the Albuquerque Journal. A full list of sponsors is here.

More information about the New Mexico Supercomputing Challenge is on the Supercomputing Challenge web page.

About the Supercomputing Challenge

The New Mexico High School Supercomputing Challenge was conceived in 1990 by former Los Alamos National Laboratory Director Sig Hecker and Tom Thornhill, president of New Mexico Technet Inc., a nonprofit company that set up a computer network in 1985 to link the state’s national laboratories, universities, state government and some private companies.

About Los Alamos National Laboratory (

Los Alamos National Laboratory, a multidisciplinary research institution engaged in strategic science on behalf of national security, is operated by Los Alamos National Security, LLC, a team composed of Bechtel National, the University of California, BWX Technologies, Inc. and URS Corporation for the Department of Energy’s National Nuclear Security Administration.

Los Alamos enhances national security by ensuring the safety and reliability of the U.S. nuclear stockpile, developing technologies to reduce threats from weapons of mass destruction and solving problems related to energy, environment, infrastructure, health and global security concerns.

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