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Young Scientists Kicking Off Supercomputer Challenge At Tech

SOCORRO, N.M. October 14, 2010 – The Supercomputing Challenge, a yearlong competition for high school students, will hold its annual kickoff in Socorro for the first time this weekend.

The kickoff event Saturday and Sunday, Oct. 16 and 17, will see more than 300 students from all corners of New Mexico visiting the Tech campus.

“This provides an opportunity to influence and recruit some of the top middle and high school students in the state,” Liebrock said. “Through the ‘Meet the Scientist’ program, Tech professors can make a lasting impression on potential Tech students.”

The ‘Meet the Scientist’ program partners professors with Supercomputing Challenge teams to make sure the students have chosen an appropriate problem to tackle. The teams are asked to select their own project that has measurable components so that a mathematical model can be developed, and from that a computing solution can be written.

“This is an opportunity for our faculty to interact with some of the best and brightest students in the state across disciplines,” Liebrock said. “Faculty will be able to consult these budding scientists on areas including biology, physics, water resources, computing, mathematics and chemistry, among others.”

Liebrock said that historically students in the Supercomputing Challenge have devised a variety of projects, from the very innovative and creative to more simple programs.

Ultimately, each team will have the opportunity to use the state-funded supercomputing resources at New Mexico Tech to do their modeling.

Each team of two to five students will bring their project proposal to the kickoff. The proposal is a brief description of the computational science problem that the team plans to solve. The proposal must clearly state the problem, why the project is important, the intended results and the project’s methodology.

The plan may include doing research, writing a computer program, analyzing data, talking to people in that particular field, and drawing conclusions. Proposals are short and concise, no more than 250 words.

The teams have more than five months to work on their project and submit their final report.

“From my perspective, this is a huge opportunity for us to recruit theses students,” Liebrock said. “We should be excited to have these bright youngsters on campus. We have many examples of great students who have been in the Supercomputing Challenge and have gone on to do great things at Tech and beyond. We hope to encourage more of them to come here.”

For more information about the kickoff, visit the Supercomputer Challenge website.

– NMT –

By Thomas Guengerich/New Mexico Tech