LANL Prepares Next Generation of HPC Professionals at New Mexico High School Supercomputing Challenge

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More than 200 New Mexico students and teachers from 55 different teams came together in Albuquerque the week 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 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.

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 presented their projects, they visited exhibits and demonstrations by several Sandia Laboratories scientists, faculty from New Mexico universities and others. They also traveled 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.

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