The participating team

A team of undergraduate students representing the University of New Orleans Department of Computer Science finished in second place in the national student programming competition held at the Supercomputing 2010 Conference in New Orleans this week. UNO placed higher than any other single academic institution in the competition.

UNO, which was a first-time participant, competed against other universities and several teams representing supercomputing consortiums from national labs. The winning team members were Edward Holmberg, Aaron Maus, Jonathan Redmann, Brendan Saltaformaggio and Devin Villegas. Teams were given eight-and-a-half hours to solve problems in the areas of physics, chemistry, biology and mathematics using the supercomputing resources provided by the conference.

“It is precisely these types of problems that give us the chance as students to show the world what we can do; we look forward to our next chance to compete against the established leaders in computing on behalf of the University of New Orleans,” said team member Jonathan Redmann.

With assistance from team adviser and professor of computer science Christopher Summa, the UNO students studied high performance computing technology, parallel programming, advanced algorithm development and scientific optimization techniques in order to prepare for the competition.

“I am extremely proud of my team, but not in the least bit surprised,” Summa said. “These students have the capability to do whatever they set their minds to.”

A group of interns from the Blue Waters supercomputing project at the National Petascale Supercomputing Facility at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign finished in first place.

“I was most proud of the fact that we were able to outperform larger, better-funded institutions like the Louisiana Optical Network Initiative team and National Center for Supercomputing Applications,” said team member Aaron Maus. “It just goes to show that the university in your backyard might just be the one where you can get the best training.”