New Mexico Supercomputing Challenge

The Supercomputing Challenge Winners, 2011-2012

Duncan McBranch, Deputy Principal Associate Director for Science, Technology and Engineering, LANL, welcomed 62 teams from around the state to Los Alamos National Laboratory at the Challenge Awards Ceremony on April 24th.

Top prize at the Supercomputing Challenge Awards Day was captured by Jordan Medlock, Team 82 from Manzano High School and he was awarded a $1,000 check. His title is Detection of Alzheimer's Disease Plaques in a Transgenic Mouse Brain Using Image Analysis of SPION-Enhanced Magnetic Resonance Images. The team mentor is Laurel Sillerud.

Second Prize was awarded to Team 72 from Los Alamos Middle School. The team member is Cole Kendrick. He received $500. His project is called Computer Simulation of Dark Matter Effects on Galaxy Collisions. His mentor is Brian Kendrick. Cole also won the Crowd Favorite which was chosen by the teachers and students following a gallery walk to see all of the project posters. He also received the Most Professional Presentation Award.

Third Prize was awarded to Team 56 from La Cueva High School. Their project is called Optimizing Community Detection. Team members are Alexandra Porter, Stephanie Djidjev, and Lauren Li. Their mentor is Samuel Smith. They also won the Women in Science and Engineering Award.

Additional Finalist teams were:

Team 2, Desert Academy, Academy for Technology and the Classics, Santa Fe High School, The Impact of Forest Fires on Water Resources
Team Members: Sara Hartse, Hugo Rivera, Nico Cruz
Sponsor: Jocelyne Comstock. Team 2 also won the LANL Environmental Modeling Award.

Team 36, Desert Academy, Language Acquisition in Computers
Team Members: Megan Belzner, Sean Colin-Ellerin
Sponsors: Jocelyne Comstock, Jeff Mathis, Mentor: Jorge Roman. Team 36 also received the Best Written Report award.

Team 41, Edgewood Elementary, Duel of the Fuel
Team Members: Ethan Hintergardt, Chase Podzemny, Emily Robinson, Keith Stevens, Pete Talamante
Sponsors: Carol Thompson, Jennifer Wiggins, Mentors: Wayne Bitner, Joaquin Roibal
They also received the Best Researched Project award presented by CHECS.

Team 64, Los Alamos High School, Warehouse Layout and Picking Simulation
Team Members: Sudeep Dasari, David Murphy, Colin Redman
Sponsor: Lee Goodwin, Mentors: Elizabeth Cooper

Team 66, Los Alamos High School, ExcellAnts
Team Members: Peter Ahrens, Dustin Tauxe
Sponsor: Lee Goodwin, Mentors: James Ahrens, Christine Ahrens
They also won the Python Programming Award for their project.

Team 73, Los Alamos Middle School, Simulation of Multi-Agent Based Scheduling Algorithms for Waiting-line Queuing Problems
Team Members: Steven Chen, Andrew Tang
Sponsor: Pauline Stephens, Mentor: Hsing-bung (HB) Chen
This team is also taking home the Jeff Bingaman Middle School Award, presented by Rebecca Montoya.

Team 118, Saturday Science and Math Academy, Ant Colony Conundrum
Team Members: Daniel Washington, Rachel Washington, Muhammad Musleh
Sponsor: Debra Johns, Mentor: Wayne Witzel

Each finalist team received plaques for their school trophy cabinets plus a large banner for their gym and $50 for each student.

The New Mexico EPSCoR Climate Change/Water Resources award goes to Team 94 from the New Mexico School for the Arts. Their title is Water You Waiting For Santa Fe? Team members are Mohit Dubey, Samuel Thompson, Milada Guenther, and Noah Caulfield. Their sponsor is Acacia McCombs and mentor is Stephen Guerin.

Team 37 from Desert Academy won an award for Modeling an Ecosystem which was presented by the New Mexico Museum of Natural History and Science. Their title is Depletion of Aquifer Levels in the Lower Rio Grande. Team Members are Jeremy Hartse, Taylor Bacon. Their sponsors are Jocelyne Comstock and Jeff Mathis.

Team 102 from Pinon Elementary won the Visualization prize from New Mexico Tech, sponsored by Dr. Lorie Liebrock. Ryan Swart from Pinon Elementary won with his project Visualizing the Tree of Life.

Team 17 from Aspen Elementary School won the Best Agent Based Modeling Project award. Their title is A Devil Worth Saving. Team Members are Thomas Chadwick, Gabriel Holesinger, Tazler Smith, Sabio Thompson and Jack Vandenkieboom. Their sponsor was Mrs. Martens, and mentors were Mark Chadwick, Jeff Hay, Terry Holesinger, Sabina Johnson, John Vandenkieboom and Lynn Wysocki-Smith.

Team 101 from Pinon Elementary received the Community Impact Award for their projected titled The Bullying Effect. Team Members are Jordan Bailey and Ruby Selvage. Their mentors are Alison Bailey and Kim Selvage.

Team 38 from Down to Earth School was awarded the Newcomer Award for being a exceptional first year team. Their project was titled Polystyrene Versus Down to Earth. Team Members are Ella Kirk, Simone Hill, Ruby Zeuner, Addie Clemens, and Hailey Manlowe. Their Sponsors are Maia Chaney, Shanon Muelhausen, and Nathan Shay.

Team 4 from AIMS@UNM won the Magellan Award for their multi-grade level collaboration. Their project is Modeling the Flow of the Interstellar Medium Within Localized Sectors of Space and Team Members are Louis Jencka, Randall van Why, Nico Ponder, Stefan Klosterman, and Jake Kileen. Their Sponsor is Mr. Harris. They also won the Cray High Performance Computing Award.

The Best Web-based Presentation of a Final Report award was shared between teams 74 from Los Alamos Middle School for their project titled Haptic Feedback: Controlling Robots with Touch, with team members Connor Bailey and Nate Delgado and sponsor Pauline Stephens and mentor Rob Cunningham, and team 101 from Pinon Elementary received the Community Impact Award for their projected titled The Bullying Effect, team Members are Jordan Bailey and Ruby Selvage. Their mentors are Alison Bailey and Kim Selvage.

Team 87 from Melrose High School won the Best Technical Poster Award. Their project is titled The Intersection of Lines to Find Points. Team Members are Randall Rush, Quinton Flores, Jon Tello, and Kaleb Broome. Their teachers are Allen Daugherty and Rebecca Raulie. Their graphic becomes the front cover for the 2012-2013 Final Reports which will be published for the Kickoff in October 2012.

Teamwork Award from CHECS, the New Mexico Council for Higher Education Computing/Communication Service, went to Team 58, Las Cruces Young Women in Computing and their title is Utopia. Their team members are Marie Ellis, Samantha McGuinn, Hiba Muhyi, Noor Muhyi, Cindy Yeh. Their sponsors were Rachel Jensen, Rebecca Galves, and they were mentored by Jen Dana and Stephanie Marquez.

The Sandia National Labs Creativity and Innovation Award goes to Team 36, Desert Academy, Language Acquisition in Computers. Team members are Megan Belzner, Sean Colin-Ellerin and the teacher sponsors are Jocelyne Comstock and Jeff Mathis. Their Mentor is Jorge Roman.

Drew Einhorn received the Service Award for his continued support in old and new endeavors including the schedule for the kickoff and the wiki implementation.

The Graphical Poster award went to Team 77, Los Alamos Mid School. This design will become next year's logo and will appear on t-shirts, the website and teacher bags. Their teacher sponsor is Pauline Stevens and her student is Claire DeCroix.

The Science Rocks award went home with Team 107, Rio Rancho Cyber Academy, Reverse Osmosis Team Members: Stuart Perara, Trinity Medley and their Sponsor: Harry Henderson.

This year's Teacher Recognition Awards are in memory of Peggy Larisch, pioneer Supercomputing Challenge teacher from Silver High School. Students nominate teacher sponsors for recognition. This year's winners are Maia Cheney, Down to Earth School, Silver, Jocelyne Comstock, Desert Academy and Rebecca Galves, a Director of the Young Women in Computing at New Mexico State University.

The Challenge's management team Consult honored UNM Grad student Reffat Sharmeen as she facilitated at the kickoff, reviewed proposals and interim reports online, attended three face to face evaluations and judged teams at the Expo.

This year the Challenge was given $10,000 from LANL's Division of Computer, Computational, and Statistical Sciences Division for scholarship awards. An additional $10,000 came from LANS, $5000 came from Abba Technologies/Hewlett Packard, $500 from the Challenge for the Willard Smith Scholarships and $15,700 was given by in-state colleges and universities. Students receiving scholarships were

Name High School College
Daniel WashingtonSat Sci & Math Acad MIT
Stephanie Djidjev La Cueva Berkeley
Jordan Medlock Manzano UNM
Megan Belzner Desert Academy MIT
Jennifer Hu LC YWiC NMSU
Cindy Yeh LC YWiC NMSU
Noor Muhyi LC YWiC NMSU
Willie Fong ATC NMT
Bethany Tanner SODA NMT
Randy Van Why AIMS@UNM NMT
Jeremiah Marquez Artesia ENMU
Josh Trujillo Artesia OU
Peter Ahrens Los Alamos Berkeley
Dustin Tauxe Los Alamos CSU
Alanna Tempest Miyamura High Stanford
Max Bond Monte del Sol UNM
Devin Hayes CEPi1 CNM
Billy Amershek CEPi1 CNM
Louis Jencka AIMS@UNM NMT
Stefan Klosterman AIMS@UNM NMT
Samantha McGuinn LC WYiC NMSU

NCWIT (National Center for Women and Information Technology) Aspirations in Computing recognized junior and senior girls for their computing-related achievements. Awardees were selected for their computing and IT aptitude, leadership ability, academic history and plans for post-secondary education. The winners in New Mexico are Taylor Bacon, Desert Academy, Santa Fe, Stephanie Djidjev, La Cueva High, Albuquerque, Sara Hartse, Desert Academy, Julissa Hunte, V. Sue Cleveland High, Rio Rancho, Alexandra Porter, La Cueva High, and Falisha Trujillo, Jemez Valley High School. Irene Lee, Challenge Board President and Principal Investigator for Project GUTS and Guts Y Girls at Santa Fe Institute, was named the Educator Winner. The Challenge was pleased to host these awards and noted that four of the six young women have participated in the Challenge.

Five attendees at the Awards Ceremony received crisp $100 bills that were given out as random door prizes.

Three special guests joined the celebration: Henry Neeman, Executive Director, Research Computing & Services Director, OU, Supercomputing Center for Education & Research (OSCER). The University of Oklahoma Information Technology Adjunct Assistant Professor, School of Computer Science. The audience Skyped with Uri Wilensky, Principal Investigator from Northwestern University's Center for Connected Learning and Computer-Based Modeling, the home of NetLogo. Team 12 from Artesia High won the Best NetLogo award for their emergency egress model. Senator Jeff Bingaman gave a congratulatory message to the participants via video that was played during the Awards Ceremony.

Now in to its 23rd year, the Challenge is open to any New Mexico high-school or middle-school student. Over the past year, teams from schools around the state researched scientific problems, developed sophisticated computer programs, learned computer science with mentors from the state's national laboratories and other organizations, and had the opportunity to run their programs on some of the world's most powerful computers.

The goal of the year-long event was to increase knowledge of science and computing; expose students and teachers to computers and applied mathematics; and instill enthusiasm for science in middle- and high-school students, their families and communities. Participating students improve their understanding of technology by developing skills in scientific inquiry, modeling, computing, communications and teamwork.

See the list of Supercomputing Challenge Sponsors for 2011-2012.

For questions about the Supercomputing Challenge, a 501(c)3 organization, contact us at: consult @