Team Information

Location: El Paso, Texas

Established: 1914

Enrollment: 25,151

Mascots: Pay Dirt Pete, the Miner

This is the third Winter Classic for this UTEP miner team. This is an entirely new team and a small one to boot, with only three members. However, it’s a team that has two Electrical Engineering seniors and a Computer Science major junior – so that’s not too bad at all.


The team last year just barely finished fourth, missing third place by less than 4.5 points out of the a total of 700 maximum. It was incredibly close.

Their traditional team nickname is Team Itzamna, a holdover from their first Winter Classic competition in 2021. Itzamna is the Mayan god of knowledge and very important to the Mayan people. I’ve included an artifact that depicts Itzamna for your edification.

2022 Competition Highlights

Team UTEP:   It’s rib night for UTEP and I’m highly supportive of that choice – big fan of ribs. They have some good news to accompany their meaty feast:  at the time of filming, they were one of the four teams that maxed out the ORNL ML challenge and it has moved them into third place overall. It’s fun to see their smiles when they hear the news. The Winter Classic is a big deal to this team and it shows.

During the meal, we lapse into a technical discussion of the various competition tasks and the team really impresses me with their thoughtful analysis and solutions to technical problems.

One of the students express some doubt as to whether they know enough to enter into HPC as an intern. They’ve just spent nearly 10 weeks successfully working on real-world HPC tasks on four different supercomputers – on their own time! Qualified? Absolutely. These students have learned a LOT during this competition and would be great hires for any HPC organization.

Team UTEP Update:  UTEP was the last team we interviewed in the competition. We caught up with them on the Saturday they turned in their AWS OpenFOAM results. This was the last computational task in the competition you could tell that the team was basking in the afterglow of turning in their final results. The team feels that they put everything into the competition and didn’t leave anything in the locker room (no, they don’t have a student cluster competition locker room).  Very solid team, highly impressive.

University of Texas El Paso – Team Itzmana:  This is the second appearance for UTEP Team Itzmansa, named after the Mayan god of wisdom. Last year, Team Itzamna was the very definition of ‘plucky.’ Attrition took the team down to two members approaching the final competition week when it’s all on the line. But the duo didn’t quit and ended up doing quite well. In our 2022 competition, Team Itzamna posted a third best LINPACK number and a sixth place HPCG – not bad at all – and that put them in sixth place overall. But they’ve flipped the script by posting the best HPC Pop Quiz score, adding 100 points to their score, and rocketing two slots into fourth place. Definitely a team to contend with…