Carnegie Mellon Student Team Excels in Supercomputing Contest

AUSTIN, Texas – Competing against four other teams, a team from Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh took top honors in the SC08 Student Competition Program held here in November at the SC08 Conference on high performance computing, networking, storage and analysis.

Xtreme Tartan, as the team called itself, had roughly eight hours to develop computer programs and solutions for up to a dozen problems from various scientific areas. The event was held on Nov. 17 during SC08. Xtreme Tartan members include Chris Eldred, Brian Krausz, Henry Zhang, Josh Tepper and Max Hutchinson. Shawn Brown of the Pittsburgh Supercomputing Center mentored the students. PSC is a research partnership of Carnegie Mellon and the University of Pittsburgh.

A team from Contra Costa College in California received honorable mention. Members include Shawn Ligocki, Teddy Quan and Kenneth Craft. Faculty member Tom Murphy was their mentor.

Teams were given access to various computational tools and a computer cluster via special accounts at the conference site. They were judged on the processes used to reach solutions, their documentation and the thoroughness, quality and accuracy of their solutions.

Organizers included Paul Gray of the University of Northern Iowa, Charlie Peck and Kay Wanous of Earlham College, David Joiner of Kean University and Tom Murphy of Contra Costa College.

“We had more teams this year with a wider variety of problems for them to work on,” said Gray, noting he was gratified by the level of participation. “Both of these are good signs.”

The SC Education Program plans to organize similar contests at the TG09 conference in Washington, D.C. in June and at SC09 in Portland, Ore. in November. For more information on the SC Education Program, go to Information on TG09 is at

Three other teams also competed:

University of Houston-Downtown: Hooman Hemmati, Jonathan Keele and Melinda Chin. Their mentor was Danil Safin.

The JEF Researchers from the Joint Educational Facility, an after-school program in Washington, D.C.: Darren Lamison-White, Eric Lamison-White, Brian Bemley, Anthony Clark and Tyrell Ferguson. Their mentor was Michael White.

Cougar 1, from Kean University in Union, N.J.: Omar Padron, Michael Arabitg, Sunny Chawla, Kevin Jala, Nicholas Doell and Ryan Suleski. Their mentor was David Joiner.

About SC08

SC08, sponsored by the ACM (Association for Computing Machinery) and the IEEE Computer Society Technical Committee on Scalable Computing and the IEEE Computer Society Technical Committee on Computer Architecture, will showcase how high performance computing, networking, storage and analysis lead to advances in research, education and commerce. This premiere international conference includes technical and education programs, workshops, tutorials, an exhibit area, demonstrations and hands-on learning. For more information, please visit