The Supercomputing Challenge Winners, 2008-2009
Top prize at the Supercomputing Challenge Awards Day was captured by Erika
DeBenedictis, Chris Hong, and Tony Huang who are Team 4 from La Cueva High
School in Albuquerque. Their project "A Novel Approach to Asteroid Identification
Using Image Processing of Existing Data", earned each student a $1,000 check.
The team's mentor is Dr. Erik DeBenedictis. Their project, also won the Cray,
Inc. High Performance Award. In December, Erika and Tony were winners of a
$40,000 award from Siemens Competition. This is Erika's third first-place win
in the Challenge and Tony's second.
But that's not all! Team 4 also won the Awards for Best Written Report from
the Society for Technical Communication and the Computational Science Award.
Both of these awards come with crisp $100 bills.
Second Prize, $500 for each team member, was awarded to Albuquerque's Manzano
High School Team 66, Kristin Cordwell and Chen Zhao. Their project is called
"Elliptic Curve Computations". Their sponsoring teacher is Steve Schum and
their mentor is William Cordwell. Council for Higher Education
Computing/Communication Services awarded the team the Best Internet Research
Prize and a $500 cash award.
Kristin kept right on winning and garnered the award from the New Mexico Network
for Women in Science and Engineering and $100 in cash. The certificate reads
"Recognizing your potential for a career in mathematics." Kristin was on the
Supercomputing Challenge winning team two years ago.
Los Alamos Middle School's Team 65 took third place with a project called "Energy
Efficiency Through Smart Wall Design". The winners are Rachel Robey and Gabe
Montoya and they received $250 each. Their teacher sponsor is Bob Dryja and
their mentors and Bob Robey and Derrick Montoya. They started this project
last year and have extended their work by adding a verification system using
USB drives to collect data.
Additional Finalist teams were:
Desert Academy's Team 35, (Santa Fe) for "Implementation and Optimization of
the RSA Encryption Method", Colton McDonald, C. Rose Morris-Wright, Avery
Rowlison and Bjorn Swenson,
Los Alamos High 52, for "Get With the Flow Man! A Study of the Thermodynamics
of Civil Engineering",
Los Alamos High Team 55, for "Far From the Tree: Newtonian Gravitational N-Body
Melrose High Team 71, for "The Control and Spread of Wildfires",
Kyle Jacobs, Angel Lucero, Richard Rush and Ramon Arenivar,
Sandia Prep Team 95, for "Vibrational Spectroscopy and Normal Mode Analysis
Applied to Human Prion Protein E200K", Jeff Fenschel, Christopher Parzyck,
and Evan Hughes,
and Silver High 98, for "Modeling, the Sun-Earth-Moon System"
Powell Brown, Ted Benakis, and John McCauley.
All are taking home posters for their school trophy cabinets and Hexbot Crab
Bots that recognize motion and darkness.
The Creativity and Innovation Award plus $100 from Sandia National Laboratories
went to Team 106 for their project "Machine Vision and Alternative Game Control".
Tenzen Lekden Lugtok and Cole Tuffli from Monte Del Sol Charter School in Santa
Fe developed an air hockey game using Wiimotes for remote motion detection.
Their teacher is Natalie Martino and their mentors are Stephen Guerin
and John Paul Gonzales.
The Passion for Science Award went home with Freedom High School, Team 41.
Their project "Fractal Illuminations" showed the beauty of the Mandelbrot set.
Freedom is an alternative high in Albuquerque. They also took home two beautiful
$50 bills. Their teacher Joe Vertrees is also their mentor.
Team 16 from Aspen Elementary School in Los Alamos won the Los Alamos National
Laboratory Environmental Modeling Award and $100. Jacob Holesinger, Emma Martins,
and Talia Dreicer are fifth and sixth graders whose project "Where Oh Where Did
The Jumping Mice Go?" Zeynap Unal is their teacher and their mentor is Jared
Dreicer. Where did those mice go?
Teamwork Award went to Colin Redman, Matthew Ticknor, Michael Englert-Erickson,
and Dhaivat Pandya who make Team 15 from Aspen Elementary in Los Alamos. Their
project "Interplanetary Travel in a Closed Ecosystem" earned $100. When one
team member moved to Florida they set up a blog for planning and reporting out
to each other. Their mentors are Elizabeth Cooper and Jim Redman. Their teacher
is Zeynap Unal.
The Best Use of Multiple Languages award went to McCurdy School in Espanola.
Team 68 members are Brandon Ramirez, Dennis Trujillo, and Francisco Vigil. They
used NetLogo and Fortran in their project called "Magnetosphere Particle Interaction".
Their teachers are John Paul Lorenzen and Irina Cislaru and their mentors are
Michelle Thompsen and Robert Robey. The team will share $100.
Team 105 from Monte del Sol Charter School and Capshaw Middle School in Santa
Fe are sharing $100 for the Best Web Presentation of a Final Report for their
project "Universally Accessible Distributed Computing on Public, Heterogeneous
Networks, Applied to the Search for Mersenne Primes". They are Max Bond and
Harsha Doda and their teacher is Natalie Martino and their mentor is Nick Bennett.
Alumni of Project GUTS they networked a set of 25 or more laptops plus many more
people through their web applet to find the primes. By last weekend they were
approaching discovery of the 29th prime. At press time they had just discovered
the 29th and were working on the 30th.
The Award for Best Agent Based Modeling goes to Melrose High School Team 71 for
"Control and Spread of Wildfire". Kyle Jacobs, Angel Lucero, Richard Rush and
Ramon Arenivar are sharing $100. The proud teachers are Alan Daugherty and Beckey
Raulie. Their interest was piqued by their parents who are volunteer firefighters
and their project modeled the spread of grassland fires.
Team 45 received the Community Focus Award and $100 for their project "Get on
the Bus.Simple or Not". Isaac Koh from Los Alamos High School was mentored by
his father Aik-Siong Koh. Isaac's project focused on Los Alamos bus routes and
is scalable to other communities.
The Crowd Favorite award went to Melrose High Team 76 for "Hawk EyE". Team
members are Brandon Mitchell, Ryan Hemminger, Quentin Flores, and Victoria Northup.
Teachers are Alan Daugherty and Rebecca Raulie. The Crowd Favorite was selected
by all the participants - teams, teachers, and mentors - based on a gallery walk
through all the posters and the team will share $100.
The Award for Best Professional Presentation Award, given by the Albuquerque
Journal, went to Team 61 from Los Alamos Middle School. They were well-prepared,
articulate, dressed appropriately, and responsive to feedback. The team members
are Sam Baty and Peter Armijo. Their teacher sponsor is Bob Dryja and their
mentors are Dr. Christopher Fryer and Dr. Stephen Diehl. Their title is
"Astrophysical N-Body Simulations of Star Clusters".
Team 18 is taking home the Bingaman's Middle School Award. Although Aspen is
not technically a middle school, the judges were impressed with the sixth grader's
work and observed that in many communities in New Mexico, sixth graders are in
middle school. Devon Conradson's project is "Rocky Planet Formation as the
Universe Ages" and won him $100. His teacher is Zeynep Unal and his mentor
Desert Academy from Santa Fe won the Encryption Award for their project
"Implementation and Optimization of the RSA Encryption Method". Team members
are Colton McDonald, C. Rose Morris-Wright, Avery Rowlison and Bjorn Swenson.
The team is sharing $100.
Melrose Junior High's Team 75 won the Technical Poster for their display board
that was made from galvanized tin. Their project is "Programming Agents to
Locate Items in Buildings". Their poster will be the logo for the 2008-2009
Final Reports which will be publish the Kickoff in October 2009. The team members
are Randall Rush and Kaleb Broome and they will share two $200. Their teachers
are Alan Daugherty and Beckey Raulie.
Silver High School's Finalist Team 98 won the Graphical Poster Award. Their
project is "Modeling, the Sun-Earth-Moon System". The Poster Award graphic
becomes the T-Shirt Logo which also goes on the Book Tote Bags for Teachers.
The logo is selected by a vote of the participants and teachers after looking
at all the posters. Silver High team members are Powell Brown, Ted Benakis,
and John McCauley and won a $200 cash award.
Judges have the discretion to make special awards. This year it was called
"Judges' Special Award for Biotech" and it went with $100 to Team 95 from
Sandia Prep in Albuquerque for "Vibrational Spectroscopy and Normal Mode Analysis
Applied to Human Prion Protein E200K". Team members are Jeff Fenchel,
Christopher Parzyck, and Evan Hughes.
The Supercomputing Challenge's Governor's Award was given to Dr. Thomas Laub,
from Sandia National Laboratories. Tom has worked with the Challenge for ten
years or more as a mentor to teams and as a teacher at our Fall Kickoff. For
several years he has organized a tour of Sandia which brings teams from all
over the state to see the supercomputers and graphics rendering and the robot
The Teacher Appreciation Award goes to two long-time Challenge teachers who
get their teams up early in the morning and drive the bus to Glorieta or
Albuquerque or Los Alamos activities in the Challenge Year. They are Beckey
Raulie and Alan Daugherty from Melrose High. They were nominated an appreciative
mother and son who told the Challenge about the extra field trip opportunities
Beckey and Alan give their students.
The Challenge is pleased to give Silver High School an award to honor their
longtime mentor Dr. Berry Estes, who died last year. Dr. Estes was retired
nuclear engineer from Sandia Laboratories and Challenge judge for many years.
This year the Challenge is giving $50,000 in scholarship awards from LANL's
Division of Computer, Computational, and Statistical Sciences Division. An
additional $2500 came from Intel, $2000 from the Challenge for the Willard
Smith Scholarships and $9,000 was given by instate colleges and universities.
|Sunni Rae Baird||Bloomfield||$5,000||NMSU|
|Ted Benakis||Silver ||$5,000||U of A|
|Steven Benne|| Manzano||$2,000||UNM, |
|Powell Brown||Silver ||$850||Undecided|
|Jeff Frenchel||Sandia Prep||$850||NMT|
|John Paul Gonzales||NVCS||$850||UNM|
|Tony Huang || Cueva||$3,000||MIT, CalTech|
|John McCauley ||Silver||$850||NMSU|
|William Phillips IV||LAHS||$1,500||Brown|
|Jon Robey||LAHS||$850||U of W|
|Kelly Steinburg||LAHS||$850||UNM, NMSU|
Now in its 19th year, the Challenge is open to any New Mexico high-school or
middle-school student. Over the past year, more than 320 students from 25 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 got the opportunity to run their
programs on some of the world's most powerful computers.
The goal of the year-long event is 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
Supercomputing Challenge Sponsors:
Los Alamos National Laboratory, Sandia National Laboratories, the State of New Mexico
CHECS, Eastern New Mexico University, MIT Starlogo, New Mexico Highlands University,
New Mexico Institute of Mining and Technology, Northern New Mexico College, New
Mexico Public Education Department, New Mexico State University, San Juan College,
Santa Fe Community College, Santa Fe Institute, Tennessee State University and
the University of New Mexico
Lockheed Martin, Sandia National Laboratories, Siemens Foundation, Wolfram Research, Inc.
Google RISE, Gulfstream Group and bigbyte.cc, Intel Corporation, One Connect IP, VanDyke Software, Inc. and ZiaNet
Abba Technologies/SGI, Albuquerque Tribune, Apogentech, BX Internet, iniCom
Networks Inc, Lobo Internet Services, New Mexico Technology and Council, New
Mexico Technet/Computer Reruns, New Mexico Internet Professionals Association,
Redfish Group and Strategic Analytics
More information on the New Mexico Supercomputing Challenge can be found at
while final student reports are available at