Los Alamos students win Supercomputer Awards

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By The Staff

The New Mexico Supercomuting Challenge awarded dozens of prizes during an award ceremony Tuesday morning.


Awards were based on presentations of research to a team of volunteer judges on Monday at the J. Robert Oppenheimer Study Center. Participants also discussed poster displays of their computing projects. Many students toured the laboratory’s supercomputing centers and heard talks and saw demonstrations by laboratory researchers.


A total of $63,000 in individual scholarships – $50,000 from Computer, Computational and Statistical Sciences (CCS) Division – were awarded.


The Supercomputing Challenge is open to any New Mexico high-school or middle-school student. More than 320 students from 25 schools around the state spent the school year researching scientific problems, developing sophisticated computer programs, and learning about computer science with mentors from the state’s national laboratories and other organizations.


For a full list of Supercomputing Challenge award winners, go to www.challenge.nm.org/archive/08-09/expo/winners.shtml. To read the final student reports, go to www.challenge.nm.org/finalreports.


The following is a list of winners from Los Alamos Public Schools.


In the overall competition, Rachel Robey and Gabe Montoya of Los Alamos Middle School took third place with a project called “Energy Efficiency Through Smart Wall Design.” They received $250 each.


Two additional Los Alamos teams were in the finalist category for overall competition. They were: Ben Batha, Daniel Cox, Gannon Nelson, William Phillips and Jake Poston, Team 52, for “Get With the Flow Man! A Study of the Thermodynamics of Civil Engineering,” and Los Alamos High Team 55, for “Far From the Tree: Newtonian Gravitational N-Body Simulation.”


Team 16 from Aspen Elementary School in Los Alamos won the Los Alamos National Laboratory Environmental Modeling Award and $100. Jacob Holesinger, Emma Martins, and Talia Dreicer are fifth and sixth graders whose project was titled, “Where Oh Where Did The Jumping Mice Go?” Zeynap Unal is their teacher and their mentor is Jared Dreicer.


Teamwork Award went to Colin Redman, Matthew Ticknor, Michael Englert-Erickson, and Dhaivat Pandya who make up Team 15 from Aspen Elementary in Los Alamos. The team won an award last year. Their project this year, “Interplanetary Travel in a Closed Ecosystem” earned $100.


When one team member moved to Florida they set up a blog for planning and reporting out to each other. Their mentors are Elizabeth Cooper and Jim Redman. Their teacher is Zeynap Unal.


Team 45 received the Community Focus Award and $100 for their project “Get on the Bus. Simple or Not.” Isaac Koh from Los Alamos High School was mentored by his father Aik-Siong Koh. Isaac’s project focused on Los Alamos bus routes and is scalable to other communities.


The Award for Best Professional Presentation Award, given by the Albuquerque Journal, went to Team 61 from Los Alamos Middle School. They were well-prepared, articulate, dressed appropriately, and responsive to feedback.


The team members are Sam Baty and Peter Armijo. Their teacher sponsor is Bob Dryja and their mentors are Dr. Christopher Fryer and Dr. Stephen Diehl. Their title is “Astrophysical N-Body Simulations of Star Clusters.”


Team 18 is taking home the Bingaman Middle School Award. Although Aspen is not technically a middle school, the judges were impressed with the sixth grader’s work and observed that in many communities in New Mexico, sixth graders are in middle school.


Devon Conradson’s project is “Rocky Planet Formation as the Universe Ages” and won him $100. His teacher is Zeynep Unal and his mentor Steven Conradson.


Scholarship awards


This year the Challenge is giving $50,000 in scholarship awards from LANL’s Division of Computer, Computational, and Statistical Sciences Division. An additional $2,500 came from Intel, $2,000 from the Challenge for the Willard Smith Scholarships and $9,000 was given by instate colleges and universities.


Scholarship winners from Los Alamos, their school, scholarship amount and choice of college or university follows:


• Ben Batha, $850, Undecided


• Nuria Clodius, $1,500, Undecided


• Daniel Cox,  $850, NMT


• Lindy Jacobs, $4,500, Whitman


• William Phillips IV, $1,500, Brown


• Jon Robey, $850, U of W


• Kelly Steinburg, $850, UNM, NMSU, NMT