"One of the goals of the year-long competition is to teach student teams how to use powerful computers to analyze, model and solve real-world problems", stated David Kratzer of the Laboratory's High Performance Computing Division, Los Alamos National Laboratory's coordinator of the Supercomputing Challenge. "Participating students improve their understanding of technology by developing skills in scientific inquiry, modelling, computing, communications and teamwork, and they have fun doing it."
The 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.
David Kratzer said the challenge also provides a pipeline of potential future employees for the Laboratory.
While at the Laboratory, students will present their projects and take part in tours, talks, and demonstrations with Laboratory scientists. Student projects will be recognized during an awards ceremony from 9 a.m. to noon, April 26 at the Church of Christ Auditorium, 2323 Diamond Drive in Los Alamos. Many plaques and cash awards will be given out; scholarships also will be awarded to high school seniors.
David Kratzer noted the support of nearly 100 Los Alamos employees and another 50 individuals from Sandia National Laboratories, universities and business, who volunteer to work on the Supercomputing Challenge. "Without the support of these volunteers we couldn't provide the first-class event we do for the students who have worked so hard to get to this point. I am grateful for their assistance", he stated, adding that this year, five students are second-generation participants; one or both of the students' parents are previous Challenge participants.
More information about the New Mexico Supercomputing Challenge, including lists of student projects and sponsors, is on the Supercomputing Challenge web page.