Inspiring Students

ALCF's Jini Ramprakash discusses supercomputers with students at Argonne's annual Introduce a Girl to Engineering Day.

ACT-SO Summer Coding at UIC

In June, the NAACP DuPage County ACT-SO Youth Program partnered with volunteers from Argonne National Laboratory, Fermilab, and University of Illinois-Chicago to introduce African American high school and young undergraduate students to programming. The course ran for over a month, both in person and via zoom, with world-class researchers offering their skills to help these students become highly sought-after software gurus.

ALCF Intro to AI-Driven Science on Supercomputers: Student Training Series

In 2022, the ALCF hosted its multi-week training program aimed at undergraduate and graduate students interested in taking their AI skills to a new level. The ALCF’s Intro to AI-driven Science on Supercomputers series, which kicked off in September, covered the fundamentals of using world-class supercomputers to advance the use of AI for research. Leveraging Argonne’s AI expertise and ALCF supercomputing resources, the hands-on series offered a unique learning experience designed to give participants a leg up in the burgeoning field of AI for Science. Comprised of eight virtual classes, the 2022 program welcomed over 200 attendees from 90 universities for hands-on instruction using methods such as AI training and neural networks on ALCF supercomputers.

ALCF Student Summer Program

Every summer, the ALCF opens its doors to a new class of student researchers who work alongside staff mentors to tackle research projects that address issues at the forefront of scientific computing. The facility hosted more than 30 students ranging from high school seniors to Ph.D. candidates. Studying topics such as AI analysis of bird audio, neural network algorithms, and high-quality visualizations for large scientific datasets, the interns had the opportunity to gain hands-on experience with some of the most advanced computing technologies in the world.

Argonne-NIU AI Camp

In July, a group of learning science experts and computer scientists from the U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE) Argonne National Laboratory and Northern Illinois University (NIU) hosted Science and Inquiry: Exploring Artificial Intelligence, a virtual AI-focused summer camp, attended by regional high school students recruited through NIU’s Upward Bound program. Over the course of four weeks, the camp students got a foundational introduction to AI and machine learning, and an opportunity to analyze real datasets using real analysis tools, starting from zero coding knowledge. The camp introduced concepts of AI and machine learning by connecting everyday uses of AI, as well as how they can be used by researchers to solve extremely complex problems. The students then worked in groups to generate and analyze AI-generated datasets using the same professional analysis tools used by scientists on AI projects, including Juypter Notebooks.

Big Data Camp

Argonne hosted a group of local high school juniors and seniors for its annual Big Data Camp in July. The week-long virtual event, organized by Argonne’s Educational Programs Office and led by Argonne computer scientists, taught the students techniques for probing and analyzing massive scientific datasets, including data visualization methods. The attendees worked with data from the Array of Things project and its follow-on Sage project (an Argonne–University of Chicago urban sensor project) to gain hands-on experience with data-driven research.

CodeGirls@Argonne Camp

The annual CodeGirls@Argonne Camp hosts sixth- and seventh-grade girls each summer for a virtual three-day event dedicated to teaching them the fundamentals of coding. Taught by Argonne computing researchers and staff from the lab’s Learning Center, the virtual camp gave students an opportunity to try out creative and computational thinking through activities that include programming robots. The camp also allowed participants to meet women scientists, who use code to solve problems, and take part in a virtual tour of the ALCF’s machine room and visualization lab.

Coding for Science Camp

In July, Argonne hosted its Coding for Science Camp for 30 high school freshmen and sophomores who were new to coding. The week-long camp, a joint initiative of Argonne’s Educational Programs Office and the ALCF, promotes problem solving and teamwork skills through hands-on coding activities, such as coding with Python and programming a robot, and interactions with Argonne staff members working in HPC and visualization.

Undergraduate and graduate students from across the country attended the ALCF’s eight-part training series, Intro to AI-Driven Science on Supercomputers, to learn the fundamentals of using AI and supercomputers for scientific research.


As part of the national Computer Science Education Week (CSEdWeek) and the Hour of Code in December, ALCF staff members provide virtual talks and demos to Chicago area schools to spark interest in computer science. Working with students in classes from elementary to high school, the volunteers led a variety of activities designed to teach the basics of coding. CSEdWeek was established by Congress in 2009 to raise awareness about the need to elevate computer science education at all levels.

Introduce a Girl to Engineering Day

ALCF staff members regularly serve as mentors and volunteers for Argonne’s Introduce a Girl to Engineering Day (IGED) program. The annual event, which was held virtually in 2022, gives eighth-grade students a unique opportunity to discover engineering careers alongside Argonne’s world-class scientists and engineers. Participants hear motivational presentations by Argonne engineers, tour the lab’s cutting-edge research facilities, connect with mentors, engage in hands-on engineering experiments, and compete in a team challenge.

OneAPI Academic Hands-on Workshop

In October, 150 undergraduate students from Chicagoland universities attended an all-day Intel oneAPI workshop hosted at Loyola University. Students had the opportunity to network with peers from other schools, professors, and experts from the ALCF. One highlight from the event was a graduate student panel, during which students had the opportunity to ask panelists about their work and paths to HPC.

SC22 Student Cluster Competition

Held annually as part of the SC Conference series, the Student Cluster Competition aims to inspire undergraduate and high school students from around the world to pursue careers in the HPC field, demonstrating the breadth of skills, technologies and science that it takes to build, maintain and utilize supercomputers. Student teams were challenged to design and deploy a computing cluster, run benchmarks, use HPC resources to meet the demands of real scientific computing applications, and report on their results. At SC22, ALCF staff members served on the competition committee and contributed as application experts to support and advise the student teams.

Science Careers in Search of Women

ALCF staff members continued to contribute to Argonne’s annual Science Careers in Search of Women (SCSW) conference. Held virtually in 2022, the event hosted female high school students for a day of inspiring lectures, facility tours, career booth exhibits, and mentoring. SCSW provides participants with the unique experience to explore their desired profession or area of interest through interaction with Argonne’s women scientists and engineers.