A wintery mix with a chance for scattered dependencies was the forecast as students tackled the NASA WRF Challenge in the 2023 Winter Classic Invitational Student Cluster Competition. In this challenge, the students not only have to run WRF, but they have to build it up from scratch as well. It’s a tall mountain to climb for the teams who haven’t dirtied their hands in this level of stuff before. But, aided by the strong training suite that NASA provided, we had 11 of 12 teams turn in a result, which is very good for a cluster competition.

In the video, Addison (yeah, he’s back!) and I go through how the WRF challenge is scored and then we, for the first time anywhere, reveal how the twelve teams did and how it impacted the “The Big Board.” It’s a video thrill ride as we pull back the curtain and refresh the leaderboard for this next to last compute module.

But we don’t stop here. Click your clickers on the next video and meet the NASA Ames Mentor Team (NAMT) as they explain how they put the task together and how it was scored.

This isn’t a simple case of “fastest wins,” NASA went farther than that. First, they scored the steps leading up to building WRF successfully. Then they divvied out some points for making WRF run, then taking a quiz, and finally, for optimizing for the best price/performance WRF run. It was a mentoring tour d’ force, highly impressive.

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