Thursday, April 29, 1999
Albuquerque Academy team takes top prize at Supercomputing Challenge
"The Evolution of Hive Intelligence Using Genetic Programming" gave a computer team from Albuquerque's Academy High School first prize Wednesday in the ninth annual New Mexico High School Supercomputing Challenge at the Laboratory.
The Academy team of Tom Widland, Kevin Oishi, Alex Feuchter, Ryan Davies and Ryan Duryea each took home a $1,000 savings bond and Microsoft software. Their teacher, James Mims, received a computer for his classroom. The winning team also received the SGI High Performance Computing Award and an award from the Society for Technical Communicators for the best written report.
A trio of computer aces from Santa Fe High School received second place for their project, "The Computation of the Gravitational Influences in an N-body System." The team includes Andrew Perelson, Nina Weisse-Bernstein and Ryan Ellis. They each received $500 savings bonds and Microsoft software Their teacher, Anita Gerlach, received a computer for her classroom.
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 Trent Toulouse of Sandia Preparatory School in Albuquerque.
Nearly 500 students competed in the challenge and about 200 students were at the Laboratory to take part in Wednesday's awards ceremony. Fifty teams, including 13 finalist teams, heard talks from researchers at at the Lab and toured the supercomputers they used during the challenge. Students from 43 schools spent the last year researching scientific problems and writing programs to solve them on supercomputers at Los Alamos and Sandia national laboratories.
The goals of the New Mexico High School Supercomputing Challenge are 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 9 through 12 can enter the challenge.
During the Awards Ceremony, Senator Pete Domenici congratulated the participants in a video message.
Unlike other computing competitions, 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 the Lab's Customer Service (CIC-6).
Several participants can pursue their computing careers at New Mexico universities with scholarships awarded Wednesday.
Renee Brown from Albuquerque's Manzano High School received a one-year $2,400 scholarship to the University of New Mexico for academic achievement.
James Hunter of Los Alamos High School won a one-year, $2,400 scholarship to the New Mexico Institute of Mining and Technology for leadership.
Cami Reed from Silver City High School was awarded the Intel Scholarship, a one-time, $2,500 award for outstanding performance. Reed plans to attend Western New Mexico University.
Lecroy Rhyanes of Andress High School in El Paso won a one-time tuition waiver to New Mexico State University for leadership.
The teachers who have been instrumental in the success of the Supercomputing Challenge were honored at Wednesday's ceremonies. For the past five years, teachers who had participated for five years have been honored for their sustained support of the event. This year's honored teachers, each of whom received an electronic personal organizer, were Neil McBeth from Sandia Preparatory School, Sarah Pope from Bloomfield High School, Peggy Larisch from Silver City High School and Anita Gerlach from Santa Fe High School.
Honorable mention awards were given to Michael Fairbanks, Kirt Lillywhite, Mitchell McBee, Heather Perry, Candice Scheffing and their teachers Debbie Prell and Keith Snuggerud, from Farmington High School; Dusadee Sarangarm, Stefan Schoenmackers, Brady Allred and their teacher Mark Franzak from Las Cruces High School; Trent Toulouse, Dylan Spaulding, Jeremy White, Joey Alexanian and their teacher Neil McBeth, from Sandia Preparatory School; and Gabriel Parmer, Jeremy Van Cleve, Justin Carlson, Bobby Truitt, Jeremiah Yerxa and their teacher Anita Gerlach, from Santa Fe High School.
Other students who went home with awards from the ninth New Mexico High School Supercomputing Challenge included the following:
Los Alamos National Laboratory Environmental Modeling Award: Cuba High School -- Shawn Camp, Janine Morales, Jocelyn Salaz, Jennifer Salaz and teacher Denise Drzymalski. The team received a trophy.
Tribune Lighthouse Award: Santa Fe High School -- Gabriel Parmer, Jeremy Van Cleve, Justin Carlson, Bobby Truitt, Jeremiah Yerxa and teacher Anita Gerlach. They received a trophy. The Santa Fe team also won the plaque for the Technet Teamwork Award.
KRQE Multi-Media Award: Las Cruces High School -- Dusadee Sarangarm, Stefan Schoenmackers, Brady Allred and teacher Mark Franzak. They received a plaque.
Las Cruces High School also won the award for the Best Use of Microsoft Office 97 and received copies of Micosoft Encarta 99.
Search and Browse Award from the Council for Higher Education Computing Services Inc.: Santa Fe High School -- Gabriel Parmer, Jeremy Van Cleve, Justin Carlson, Bobby Truitt and Jeremiah Yerxa. Each of the Santa Fe students received $100 cash.
HTML Award: Ten of the 51 teams finishing the Challenge made an HTML version of their final reports, which are available online at http://mode.lanl.k12.nm.us/challenge/Archive/98-99/finalreports and soon will be posted at http://www.challenge.nm.org/Archive/98-99/finalreports.
Two teams will share the award for the Best HTML version of a final report. They are Albuquerque Academy -- Tom Widland, Kevin Oishi, Alex Feuchter, Ryan Davies and Ryan Duryea; and Farmington High School -- Michael Fairbanks, Kirt Lillywhite, Mitchell McBee, Heather Perry and Candice Scheffing.
The High Performance Computing Award for the most computationally intensive program from Silicon Graphics Inc., which included gifts from the company, also went to the Albuquerque Academy Team. Albuquerque Academy also was honored for the Best Written Report Award from the Society for Technical Communicators. Team members each received a $30 gift certificate to their favorite bookstore.
Creativity and Innovation Award from Sandia National Laboratories was awarded to Sandia Preparatory School -- Trent Toulouse, Dylan Spaulding, Jeremy White, Joey Alexanian and teacher Neil McBeth. They received a plaque.
The judges also gave a plaque for special recognition to the Farmington High School team of Michael Fairbanks, Kirt Lillywhite, Mitchell McBee, Heather Perry, Candice Scheffing and teachers Debbie Prell and Keith Snuggerud.
First-in-Line Awards from New Mexico Technet: Silver City High School -- Clark Boatwright, Christy Sumerall and Sarah Smith. They received tokens for being the first team to submit an interim report which was turned in almost a month early.
Shiprock High School -- Lyvalene Begay, Leona Largo, Melissa Cadman, Nedlaya Francisco and Wed Beletso received tokens for being the first team to turn in its hard copy final report.
Poster Contest winners -- Students from Lovington High School won the technical poster 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 runner up in the technical poster category was a team from Sandia Preparatory School.
The best graphical poster award, which will be the basis for next year's logo, was designed by a team from Cuba High School. The members of the team will split a $200 cash prize. The runner-up poster was designed by Bloomfield High School students.
The Supercomputing Challenge was conceived in 1990 by former Laboratory Director Sig Hecker and Tom Thornhill, president of New Mexico Technet Inc., a nonprofit company that in 1985 set up a computer network to link the state's national laboratories, universities, state government and some private companies. 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 CISCO Systems Inc., DP Signal, Intel Corp., Kinko's and Microsoft Corp.
Patrons include Sandia National Laboratories, University of New Mexico, New Mexico State University, New Mexico Institute of Mining and Technology, Albuquerque Tribune, SGI, Council for High Education Computing Services (CHECS Inc.), Eastern New Mexico University, New Mexico Highlands University, New Mexico Department of Education, San Juan College, Santa Fe Community College and the Air Force Research Lab.
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