New Mexico Supercomputing Challenge winners

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In late April LANL announced winners of the 20th annual New Mexico Supercomputing Challenge, the long-standing HPC education experience for high school students. 62 teams from throughout NM competed in this year’s Challenge

Top prize at the Supercomputing Challenge Awards Day was captured by a team of three boys from Melrose. Their project Control and Spread of Wildfires II. Richard Rush, Kyle Jacobs, and Randall Rush each earned a $1,000 check. Their teacher sponsors were Alan Daugherty and Rebecca Raulie. This team also received the Crowd Favorite, selected by all the participants – teams, teachers, and mentors – based on a gallery walk through of all the project posters. The team will share $100.

Here’s the summary of that project

This year our project will be over predicting and protecting ourselves against wild fires. Wildfires are a threat to property and life, and it would be very helpful to be able to predict where a wildfire will be able to advance from and take appropriate action, such as setting up a fire break. Modeling a fire will give us a better understanding of how fire behaves and how to control it as well.

We have used Starlogo TNG as our modeling program and with Starlogo TNG we were able to easily set up terrain, towns, vegetation, and other topographical variables. Now we want to advance our code to NetLogo, and insert live weather forcasting and real topographical and land useage maps. We also want to model fire fighting techniques such as improvised firebreaks, trucks, and man power. One of the most important aspects of our project would be keeping the model user friendly and in a marketable form.

A model that could be run on a regular PC or laptop would be a good tool to firemen in the field who could insert the current conditions and identify potential threats. The firemen would then be able to make the most of the information that they obtained being able to make better use of limited resources, predict the fires progress, and save more property and lives from fire damage.

Lots more information on what these students did at the Challenge website.