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Adventures in Super Computing Challenge, April 23, 2002

SILVER CITY, April 23, 2002 -- A computer team from Silver High School took the top prize Tuesday in the 12th annual New Mexico High School Adventures in Supercomputing Challenge at the Laboratory. This year, the Adventures in Supercomputing and the NM Supercomputing Challenge merged to create the Adventures in Supercomputing Challenge (AiS Challenge). Nearly 170 students were at Los Alamos to take part in Monday's and Tuesday's activities. Fifty teams heard talks from researchers at Los Alamos and toured the supercomputing centers at Los Alamos National Laboratory. Twelve teams qualified as finalists and made formal presentations of their work to their peers and guests at the AiS Challenge Awards Expo. The archived reports of teams finishing the AiS Challenge can be viewed at http://www.challenge.nm.org/Archive/

First place went to Roeland Hancock, Team 90 from Silver High; he took home a $1,000 savings bond for his supercomputing project. His teacher, Peggy Larisch, received a computer for her classroom. Their mentors are Steve Blake and David Harris. For the first time, the students and teachers from the first and second place teams will be awarded a trip to NASA Ames Research Center of Excellence in Sunnyvale, California. NASA Ames is one of the many sponsors of the AiS Challenge.

A duo of computer aces, Robert Cordwell and Brian Rosen, Team 50 from Manzano High School, took second place with their project, "Tales from the Encrypt." They each received $500 savings bonds, and their teacher, Stephen Schum, was awarded a computer for his classroom.

Another innovation this year is that each student and his or her teacher from the first four honorable mention teams received a $100 gift certificate. Team members, schools, teachers and projects are:

  • Tyler Hicks-Wright, Matt Mehne, Sean Smock, Albuquerque Academy, Team 6, Jim Mims, teacher, "Artificial Intelligence through Genetic Algorithms in Chess"
  • Samuel Ashmore, Jessica Behles, Adrienne Cox, Geraldine Prashun, and Kenny Sutherland, Bosque School, Team 19, teachers Debra Loftin and Dorothy Ashmore, "Modeling the Spread of the West Nile Virus"
  • Joel Lowry, Randy Brown, Tim Newell, Lovington High School, Team 45, teacher Pam Gray, mentor, Tom Laub, "The Winning Hand"
  • Arne Goldsworthy, Sean Sehr, Sandia Prep, Team 71, teacher Neil McBeth, "Identifying Alternative Gene Splicing in Human Chromosome 22"

Each student and teacher in the set of second honorable mention teams will receive a $50 gift certificate. Students, schools, teachers and projects are:

  • Jeremy Pepper, Alamogordo High School, Team 1, teacher Albert Simon, "Heuristic Encoding Algorithm for Effective Audio Resynthesis"
  • Zach LaBry, Preston Dell, Eric Searle, Charles Whitehead, Hugh Wimberly, Albuquerque Academy, Team 6, teacher Jim Mims, "Shattered Glass: An Analysis of a Brittle Collision using Smooth Particle Hydrodynamics"
  • Shaun Ballou, Paul Boyle, Joshua Langsfeld, Ryan McGowan, Matt Strange, Albuquerque Academy Team 9, teacher Jim Mims, "Modeling Solar Systems
  • Ryan Merrick, Nathan Perkins, Bosque School, Team 20, teachers Debra Loftin and Dorothy Ashmore, mentor, Tom Love, "Advanced Parsing Algorithm for Optimized Indexing of Site Data found through TCP/IP Sockets"
  • C.V. Harris, Denis Grayson, Richelle Winston, Magdalena High School, Team 47, teacher Brad Wayt, mentor Anna Johnston, "Twin Primes"
  • Teresa Davis, Laura Stupin, Jennifer Bartels, and Robert Mansfield, Santa Fe High School, Team 79, teacher Anita Gerlach, mentors David Stupin and Dave Carrington, "A Study of Fluvial Processes in Desert Morphology"

Students from 36 schools around the state spent the last year researching scientific problems and writing programs to solve them on supercomputers at Los Alamos and Sandia National Laboratories. The goal of the New Mexico High School AiS Challenge is 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 student in grades 7 through 12 can enter the challenge.

"The New Mexico High School AiS Challenge is unique because it offers supercomputer access to students at every level of expertise and stresses computational science research projects," said David Kratzer of High Performance Computing (CCN-7). Eric Ovaska (IM-2) coordinator of the AiS Challenge, feels that the some of the projects are graduate level projects and that we expect to see many of them working in the lab in the next decade.

Several participants can pursue their computing careers at New Mexico universities with scholarships awarded on Wednesday. The Amy Boulanger Memorial scholarship, from New Mexico Technet, good for $2,400 a year for four years at any accredited institution of higher education in the U.S., was awarded to Heather Menzer, Silver High School. Cristin McDonald from Bloomfield High School received a $2,500 scholarship from Intel Corp. Caled Crawford from Santa Fe High School received a $3,000 scholarship from Compaq Corp. Tyler Burgett, from Bloomfield High School, was awarded the NMSU Physics $1000 scholarship. CV Harris, Magdelana High School, was awarded an NMSU scholarship. Craig Stahle, Bloomfield High school, was awarded $2400 to New Mexico Tech. Altogether, over $21,000 in scholarships were given to AiS Challenge participants this year.

Other students took home awards for their exceptional projects in the 12th New Mexico High School Adventures in Supercomputing Challenge. Team 93, Silver High, received the Los Alamos National Laboratory Environmental Modeling Award. Davin Richardson and Monte Topmiller are the team members and their teacher is Peggy Larisch, and their mentors Joy Garcia and Berry Estes.

The Cray High Performance Computing Award was given to Team 50 from Manzano High School for their project "Tales from the Encrypt." Team members Brian Rosen and Robert Cordwell, teacher Stephen Schum.

Team 19, "Modeling the Spread of the West Nile Virus", Bosque School, received the Best Written Report Award from the Society for Technical Communicators. Samuel Ashmore, Jessica Behles, Adrienne Cox, Geraldine Prashun, and Kenny Sutherland are the team members. Their teachers are
Debra Lofton and Dorothy Ashmore.

The Technet Teamwork Award went to Ream 6 from Albuquerque Academy, whose members were Hugh Wimberly, Charles Whitehead, Eric Searle, Preston Dell, and Zach LaBry and teacher Jim Mims.

Team 92 from Silver High received the Los Alamos National Laboratory Best HTML award. Peggy Larisch.is their teacher. See The Challenge Archive http://www.challenge.nm.org/Archive/

The Tribune Lighthouse Award for best overall presentation was awarded to Team 79, Santa Fe High School. The team members are Teresa Davis, Laura Stupin, Jennifer Bartels, and Robert Mansfield. Their teacher is Anita Gerlach, and mentors are David Stupin and Dave Carrington.

Microsoft's Award for best use of MS Office went to Team 94 for their project "Dreams," from Silver High, members Ariel Wallin and Ryan Schnalzer, teacher Peggy Larisch.

KRQE Multi-Media Award for best graphics presentation was awarded to Team 9, "Modeling Solar Systems," Albuquerque Academy. Their teacher is Jim Mims. The team members are Shaun Ballou, Paul Boyle, Joshua Langsfeld, Ryan McGowan, and Matt Strange.

Team 19 from Bosque School, received the Search and Browse Award from the Council for Higher Education Computing Services, Inc. for best research on the Internet for their project "Modeling the Spread of the West Nile Virus." Samuel Ashmore, Jessica Behles, Adrienne Cox, Geraldine Prashun, and Kenny Sutherland. Are the team members. Their teachers are Debra Loftin and Dorothy Ashmore. Their mentor is Dr. Rudy Bueno.

Team 59 from Moriarty, received the Creativity and Innovation Award from Sandia National Laboratories for their project "Is It Really your Car? Or Just the Corner?" members Jamie O'Dell and Angelica Delgadillo and teacher Paula Avery with mentor John Russell.

The Judges' Special Recognition award went to team 68 from Picacho Mid School, team members Brendan Sullivan, Sean Turner, Reese Luckie, Cole Salopek, and teacher Jean McCray.

Students set up poster exhibits of their work in the AiS Challenge Expo. Here their work is shared with other teams and judged for awards. During the Expo students and teachers choose projects for special awards.

The Technical and Graphical Poster Awards are selected by students and teachers during the Awards Expo. Team 91, Students from Silver High won the Technical Poster award of $100 for the poster that will become the cover of the book of final reports.

The best Graphical Poster Award, which will be the basis for next year's logo for the web page and T-shirts is "Military Combat Simulation: A Study of Artificial Intelligence", from Team 44. Lovington. They will split a $200 cash prize. Their teacher are Pam Gray and Jimmy Crawford and the team members are Byron Buxkemper and Clayburn Griffin and their mentor was Wayne Sikes.

This year, the Teachers' Choice Award went to Team 90, from Silver High, Computer Modeling of Cultural Interaction and Evolution. Team 44, Lovington, won the Students' Choice Award.

The AiS Challenge was conceived in 1990 by former Los Alamos Director Sig Hecker and Tom Thornhill, president of New Mexico Technet Inc., a non-profit company that in 1985 set up a computer network to link the state's national laboratories, universities, state government and some private companies. U.S. Sen. Pete Domenici, R-N.M., and John Rollwagen, then chairman and chief executive officer of Cray Research Inc., added their support. This year, the Adventures in Supercomputing and the NM Supercomputing Challenge merged to create the Adventures in Supercomputing Challenge (AiS Challenge).

The backbone of the AiS Challenge is the cadre of state-wide judges who work with students at the kickoff conference and interim evaluations, read all the teams' final reports, participate in a conference call to select first-round finalists, and judge expo projects and finalist teams. Judges come from the AiS Challenge educational partners, Sandia, and Kirtland. Joe Watts, David Olivas, DM Quintana, Dennis Padilla, Tom Nelson, Gina Fisk, Lisa Gardner, Katherine Campbell, Tinka Gammel, Josh Neil, Douglas Wokoun, Eric Weigle, Bill McKerley, Julianne Stidham and Mike Fisk are judges from the Laboratory.

The AiS Challenge is sponsored by the Los Alamos National Laboratory, DARPA, DOE, NASA Ames Research Center and New Mexico Technet. Educational Partners are CHECS, Eastern New Mexico University, New Mexico Highlands University, New Mexico Institute of Mining and Technology, New Mexico State Department of Education, New Mexico State University, San Juan College, Santa Fe Community College and the University of New Mexico.

The Gold Commercial Partners are Compaq, Microsoft, Sandia National Laboratories and Siemens Foundation. Silver Commercial Partners are AT&T Wireless, Belew's, Office Supply, Cray, DP Signal, Gianopoulos Design, Gulfstream Group and bigbyte.cc, Intel Corporation, Kinko's, Lockheed Martin and ZiaNet. Bronze Commercial Partners are Albuquerque Tribune, Paul Duke, Home Run Pizza - Los Alamos, New Mexico Educational Assistance Foundation, New Mexico Internet Professionals Association, George and Vera Pulley, SM3S (Tom Hill), Regional Development Corporation, Society of Mexican American Engineers and Scientists (MAES), Sprint PCS and Valor Telecom.

Visit the AiS Challenge web site at http://www.challenge.nm.org to learn more about the program and view this year's final reports.

The next big event of the AiS Challenge year is the Summer Teacher Institute where past and future AiS Challenge teachers are equipped to better help their teams compete in the AiS Challenge. See the The Challenge Archive http://www.challenge.nm.org/STI on the web.