Invitation to Participate

26th Annual Supercomputing Challenge
Register Sept. 1-20 at

If you want your students to

  • Have the research skills required for the process of scientific inquiry
  • Be confident with complex math and technological problem solving techniques in the context of computer science and writing computer programs
  • Be able to articulate their own ideas as well as communicate with others and work as a team

Then your school will want to participate in the Supercomputing Challenge. The Challenge is organized and administered by Los Alamos and Sandia National Laboratories, as well as academic, research and high-technology organizations. The Challenge draws teams of middle school and high school students who learn to model important real-world problems and explore computational approaches to their solutions.

Here are some sample questions teams might wish to answer: Is our county going to run out of water? Does is rain more on weekends? How does snow pack affect river flow? What effect do forest fires have on ecosystems? How can self-care help in the prevention of disease? What is the likelihood that the deer population in Bandelier will run out of grassland?

Teams from around the state participate to learn about the challenges facing their environment, to better understand properties of the physical universe, to look at trends in the social sciences that have implications for their own lives, and to develop useful career preparation skills such as teamwork, oral, written and visual communication, problem solving, and project follow-through. After teams have selected a problem to work on, they choose a programming language that is appropriate for the kind of modeling and visualization they think their project requires. In the past, some teams chose Java, Python, or C++ to implement computational models. Other teams elected to model complex systems using agent based modeling with StarLogo TNG or NetLogo.

The Challenge Year begins with registration in September and a Kickoff Conference in October. The year continues with an Interim report in December, Project Evaluations in February, and Final Project Presentations and Awards Ceremony in April at Los Alamos National Laboratory. Throughout the year, scientists from Los Alamos National Laboratory, Sandia National Laboratories, New Mexico State University, University of New Mexico and technology and business companies, mentor students and teacher-sponsors to provide initial and ongoing training in computational methods and scientific modeling. They evaluate project ideas, steer student teams towards successful completion of their work, and evaluate projects at mid-term and final judging events.

Costs are minimal for students: major funding comes from the National Labs and other businesses and individual sponsors.

To register, to find out more about our sponsors, to see past student projects, to read about the awards, prizes and scholarships presented at Los Alamos, to learn about the Sandia Spring Tour, or to see if your school has participated in the past, visit our website at Please write to consult1516 @ if you have questions or would like to receive more information. Online registration is at

As New Mexico addresses its workforce needs for the 21st century, it has become obvious that the 9,000 plus students who have participated in the Challenge are better prepared to plan for careers in the high-tech industry. Colleges and employers seek the skills that Challenge participants develop. We hope that you will encourage your students to form teams and

Take the Challenge!

Teachers, post the flyer to solicit students or edit the Word version of the flyer and add your contact information.

Look over the Important Dates.