Joelle Jones, center, congratulates teammate Joan Goldsworthy at Wednesday's awards ceremony upon learning they were named winners in the 11th annual New Mexico High School Supercomputing Challenge. At right, wearing blue, is Heather Wood. The computer team from Albuquerque Sandia Preparatory School took the top prize for their supercomputer program "Parallel Processing of Human Genomic Leukemia Data Using Neural Networks." Inset photo: Jordan Aday, left, Eddie Banda, center, and Hector Cardona of Picacho Middle School in Las Cruces received the Judges Special Recognition Award at Wednesday's New Mexico High School Supercomputing Challenge. Their project, "Gas Diffusion," used a computer program to examine the diffusion of gas leaks at their school. More than 120 students attended the awards ceremony in the J. Robert Oppenheimer Study Center. Photos by LeRoy N. Sanchez, Public Affairs
Sandia Preparatory School team takes top prize at the 11th New Mexico Supercomputing Challenge
A computer team of students from Sandia Preparatory School in Albuquerque took the top prize Wednesday in the 11th annual New Mexico High School Supercomputing Challenge at the Laboratory.
The student team of Joan Goldsworthy, Joelle Jones and Heather Wood each took home a $1,000 savings bond for their supercomputer program "Parallel Processing of Human Genomic Leukemia Data Using Neural Networks." Their teacher, Neil McBeth received a computer loaded with software for their classroom. Their advisor is Susan Atlas. The team also received the Cray High Performance Computing Award for their project, which used advanced computing techniques like Message Passing Interface to allow multiple processors to work on the same problem. The three students will split $1,000 in gift certificates to New Mexico bookstores.
A trio of computer aces from Albuquerque Academy High School received second place for their project, "Cost Minimization through Flight Scheduling." The team includes Tom Widland, Lizzie Brown, Ryan Davies, Kurt Diegert and Sarah Oman. They each received $500 savings bonds and a computer loaded with software for teacher Jim Mim's classroom. The Academy team also received the Microsoft Best Use of Powerpoint Award.
The team of Dawud Shakir, Candace Woodard, Robert Jones and Yousef Shakir from Highland High School in Albuquerque took third place for their project "Cipher This." The students all receive a $100 gift certificate to Radio Shack from Compaq Corp. Their advisors are Jeffrey Raloff, Donald Downs and Mitch Stucker.
The Amy Boulanger Memorial scholarship, good for $2,400 a year for four years at any four-year New Mexico college or university, was awarded to Kayla Isler from Roswell Goddard High School in Roswell.
Nearly 250 students competed in the challenge and about 120 students were at Los Alamos to take part in Wednesday's awards ceremony in the J. Robert Oppenheimer Study Center. Thirty teams, including a dozen finalist teams, heard talks from researchers at Los Alamos and toured the supercomputers they used during the Challenge. Students from 30 schools spent the last year researching scientific problems and writing programs to solve them on supercomputers at Los Alamos and Sandia national laboratories.
The goal of the New Mexico High School Supercomputing Challenge is to increase knowledge of science and computing, expose students and teachers to computers and applied mathematics, and instill enthusiasm for science in high school students, their families and communities. Any New Mexico high school student in grades nine through 12 can enter the Challenge.
The New Mexico High School Supercomputing Challenge is unique because it offers supercomputer access to students at every level of expertise and stresses student activity over work by teachers and coaches, said David Kratzer of Customer Service (CCN-7).
Several participants can pursue their computing careers at New Mexico universities with scholarships awarded on Wednesday. About $28,000 in scholarships were awarded.
Zack Wooten from Bloomfield High School received a $2,500 scholarship from Intel Corp.
Joseph Farfel and Scott Richardson from Alamogordo High School each received $3,500 scholarships from Compaq Corp.
Candace Woodard from Highland High School in Albuquerque received a $1,000 scholarship from Compaq Corp. and a one-year scholarship to the University of New Mexico.
Dawud Shakir from Highland High School in Albuquerque received a one-year scholarship to New Mexico Institute of Mining and Technology in Socorro.
Tyler Burgett from Bloomfield High School received a one-year scholarship to New Mexico State University in Las Cruces.
Honorable mention awards were given to the Alamogordo High School team of Scott Richardson, Chris Berger, Joseph Farfel, Mathew Hoppe and Vincent Hoppe for their project, "Artificial Intelligence." The Albuquerque Academy team of Matt Mehne, Jason Cox, Aaron Garcia and Peter Cochran received honorable mention for their project, "Chess and Computing." The Bosque School team of Samuel Ashmore, Jessica Behles and Ryan Merrick also earned an honorable mention for their project "Evaluating the Sustainability of the Albuquerque Water Supply." Each team member received a $50 gift certificate.
Other students who went home with awards from the 11th New Mexico High School Supercomputing Challenge included:
Los Alamos National Laboratory Environmental Modeling Award went to Samuel Ashmore, Jessica Behles and Ryan Merrick Bosque School, for "Evaluating the Sustainability of the Albuquerque Water Supply." The team also received the Best Written Report Award from the Society for Technical Communicators.
The Technet Teamwork Award went to Zack Wooten, Jacob Justice, Craig Stahle and Tyler Burgett of Bloomfield High School.
The Bosque School team received the Tribune Lighthouse Award for best overall presentation. The team consists of Kenny Sutherland, Kai Mammoser and Nathan Perkins. Their project is entitled "Modeling Algorithms of Robotic Fire Victim Retrieval."
KRQE Multi-Media Award for best graphics presentation was awarded to the Albuquerque Academy team of Matt Mehne, Jason Cox, Aaron Garcia and Peter Cochran for their project "Chess and Computing."
Keith Tabor of Springer High School received the Search and Browse Award from the Council for Higher Education Computing Services, Inc. for best research on the Internet.
Jeremy Pepper of Alamogordo High School received the Creativity and Innovation Award from Sandia National Laboratories for his project "Computer Literacy."
The Judges Special Recognition award went to the Picacho Middle School team of Jordan Aday, Hector Cardona and Eddie Banda for their project "Gas Diffusion."
Many of the final reports of teams finishing the Challenge can be viewed at http://www.challenge.nm.org online.
Students from Roswell Goddard High won the technical poster award; the team of Kayla Isler, John Cheney and Amy Kunkel received a $100 award. The poster will become the cover of the book of final reports, which will be distributed to all New Mexico high school and college libraries by the State Department of Education.
The best graphical poster award, which will be the basis for next year's logo, was designed by the Albuquerque Academy team of Matt Mehne, Jason Cox, Aaron Garcia and Peter Cochran. The members of the team will split a $200 cash prize.
The Supercomputing Challenge was conceived in 1990 by former Los Alamos Director Sig Hecker and Tom Thornhill, president of New Mexico Technet Inc., a non-profit company that in 1985 set up a computer network to link the state's national laboratories, universities, state government and some private companies. U.S. Sen. Pete Domenici, R-N.M., and John Rollwagen, then chairman and chief executive officer of Cray Research Inc., added their support.
The Supercomputing Challenge is sponsored by the Laboratory and New Mexico Technet Inc. Benefactors include: Compaq Corp., Intel Corp., Kinko's, Microsoft Corp., and NASA-Minority University Space Interdisciplinary Network.
Patrons include: Sandia National Laboratories; University of New Mexico; New Mexico State University; New Mexico Institute of Mining and Technology; Albuquerque Tribune; Cray; Council for High Education Computing Services, or CHECS Inc.; Eastern New Mexico University; New Mexico Highlands University; New Mexico Department of Education; New Mexico Educational Assistance Foundation; San Juan Community College; Santa Fe Community College; Belew's Office Supply; Dean Gianopoulus Design; New Mexico Internet Providers Association; and ZiaNet.