Supercomputing Challenge brings New Mexico students to Los Alamos

Budding computer scientists present their work and tour Laboratory facilities

By David Moore | May 21, 2024

Students presenting their projects to volunteer judges at the Laboratory.

The 34th Annual Supercomputing Challenge brought 130 middle and high school students from across New Mexico to Los Alamos April 29 and 30 to present the results of their year-long computing projects. 

Judges (many of them LANL employees) selected the winners, and the students also toured LANL facilities including the Center for Integrated Nanotechnologies, and the National High Magnetic Field Lab. 

In the Challenge, students work in teams and follow their own interests to choose a topic to computationally model. Through the year-long program they learn coding skills and teamwork as well as practicing grit and persistence. 

Over 130 students took part in this year’s Challenge.

Scholarships worth $17,200 were awarded for students planning to major in STEM. The recipients were students at Santa Fe schools Capital High, Monte Del Sol and Academy for Technology and the Classics, and at Albuquerque’s Early College Academy.

Additional prizes were distributed for categories such as teamwork, technical writing, programming prowess, and community impact.

Tate D. Plohr from Los Alamos High School took first place for his project on magnetic reconnection, while second place went to Harrison Schiek from Albuquerque Academy for a water runoff and diversion simulation project. Santa Fe Prep’s Luke Rand, Greta Swanson and  Nandita Ganesan took third place for a project called Computational Hydrodynamic Analysis for Speed Maximization (CHASM).

The Challenge partners include Los Alamos National Laboratory, Laboratory operator Triad, New Mexico Consortium, Sandia National Laboratories and PNM.