Students to tackle modeling challenge at NCSA as part of Science Olympiad

04.08.10 -

Dozens of middle- and high-school students from across Illinois and around the nation will have the opportunity to tackle the challenges of computational modeling at the National Center for Supercomputing Applications (NCSA) as they compete in the Illinois Science Olympiad State Finals Competition on April 10 and the Science Olympiad National Tournament May 21-22.

In the NCSA-hosted event, Model This!, teams will use computational models to gain insights about either predator/prey interactions or the spread of an air-borne disease; they interpret data and use it to answer questions. (Note: They also test models by changing code of existing models or creating their own)

"This is a wonderful opportunity for some of the top students in the state and in the nation to learn computer modeling techniques to better understand complex systems," said Edee Wiziecki, the director of NCSA cybereducation programs who is shepherding the introduction of Model This! into the Science Olympiad competition.

Model This! is the first Olympiad competition to use computer modeling; it is a trial challenge, meaning it will be evaluated after the national tournament and may become an official Science Olympiad event.

The introduction of Model This! into the state and national competition is supported by NCSA, the TeraGrid, and the Institute for Chemistry Literacy Through Computational Science (ICLCS).