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Supercomputing Challenge Winners Examine Nanotech for Fighting Cancer

Katelynn James, left, and Meghan Hill of Monte del Sol Charter School in Santa Fe.

Katelynn James, left, and Meghan Hill of Monte del Sol Charter School in Santa Fe.

This week LANL announced that high school students Meghan Hill and Katelynn James took the top prize in the 25th New Mexico Supercomputing Challenge. Their research project, “Using Concentrated Heat Systems to Shock the P53 Protein to Direct Cancer into Apoptosis.” posited that using nanotechnology robots can kill cancer cells without damaging healthy cells.

Shaun Cooper at New Mexico Supercomputing Challenge awards ceremony.

Shaun Cooper at New Mexico Supercomputing Challenge awards ceremony.

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. Since its inception, the Supercomputing Challenge has engaged more than 10,000 New Mexico students in computational science projects that prepare them for future endeavors in many science and high-technology fields. Past participants have succeeded in private industry and national laboratories. Major funding for the Supercomputing Challenge comes from national laboratories, local and national businesses and individual donors.

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.”

Runners Up

The runners up submitted the following winning reports:

  • The Albuquerque Academy trio of Carl Cherne, Mark Swiler and Jason Watlington took second place for their research, “Population Fluctuation in Ecosystems,” which studied interactions between organisms and answers the question of how wild animal populations fluctuate.
  • Los Alamos High School student Jovan Zhang won third place for his research, “Number Theory Applied to RSA Encryption,” which demonstrated RSA encryption methods using only elementary number theory and presented proofs.

Check out the complete set of student competition reports * Sign up for our insideHPC Newsletter.

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