Supercomputing Challenge returns to Los Alamos

Students from across New Mexico present their yearlong projects

By David Moore | May 18, 2023

Supercomputing Challenge Sm
A team from the Justice Code STEM education initiative in Albuquerque presenting their Supercomputing Challenge project to judges at the Laboratory April 24.

The Supercomputing Challenge celebrated its 33rd annual Supercomputing Challenge Expo in Los Alamos April 24-25. The Expo included final student presentations, judging, a tour of Laboratory facilities, and an awards ceremony to recognize the students’ achievements.

For the first time in several years, the student presentations took place at the Laboratory, with Lab volunteers serving as many of the judges.

The culmination of a year’s work

The Supercomputing Challenge sees students across the state work on computational projects over the school year on topics such as computer science, behavioral health and environmental issues, and wildfire detection.

“The Challenge likes to refer to itself as an academic marathon, and this year’s group of students are recognized as critical thinkers, communicators, collaborators, and computer scientists,” said Challenge Executive Director David Kratzer. “I am always impressed with the students in our state. We are so proud to be able to showcase their abilities.”

And the winners are . . .

The 2023 top three finalist projects were:

  • First place: La Cueva High School: Machine Learning based Accessible Mobile App for Activity Recognition and Freezing of Gait Monitoring in Parkinson's Patients
    Team Members: Abitpal Gyawali, Aditya Koushik, Aiden Shoppel, Amandeep Prasankumar, Venkata Menta
    Sponsor: Jeremy Jensen
  • Second place: Los Alamos High School: Mapping Anthropogenic Ocean Litter with an Autonomous Underwater Vehicle
    Team Member: Daniel Kim
    Sponsor: Michela Ombelli
  • Third place: Sandia High School: SINGS: A Simple Interactive N-body Gravitation Simulator 
    Team Member: Tristan Eggenberger
    Sponsor: Bradley Knockel

All student final reports and videos can be viewed at:

Over the course of the school year, middle and high school students who compete in the Challenge are mentored by community volunteer scientists, computer programmers, and professors. Several alumni also serve as volunteers. By participating in the Challenge, students learn coding skills and teamwork as well as practice grit and persistence. 

Scholarships worth $15,000 were awarded to students planning to major in STEAM subjects. Other awards ranged from a randomly-distributed $50 for finishing the academic marathon to team prizes of up to $1000 for first place, and additional prizes for categories such as teamwork, technical writing, programming prowess, and community impact.

The Challenge is open to New Mexico middle and high school students, including home-schooled students and is supported by Triad/Los Alamos National Laboratory, New Mexico Consortium, Sandia National Labs, PNM, Air Force Research Lab, BigByte and colleges and universities across New Mexico.