New Mexico Consortium Donates Tech Equipment To Local Schools

Students from Mesa del Sol Charter School in Santa Fe visit the New Mexico Consortium in Los Alamos September 21. Photo Courtesy NMC

New Mexico Consortium

The New Mexico Consortium (NMC) recently has donated equipment and tech supplies to local schools as part of an ongoing effort to advance science education and support local communities. Recycling outdated equipment that is still in good working condition also helps to reducing unnecessary waste.
The NMC has been coordinating this effort with the North Central Region of New Mexico Mathematics, Engineering, and Science Achievement (NM MESA), a pre-college program that prepares New Mexico students for college and careers in mathematics, engineering, science or technically related fields.

On September 21, 21 students from the Monte del Sol Charter School came to the New Mexico Consortium where they attended a presentation and were given a tour of the NMC’s server room facilities. Omar Contreras, the NMC Director of Information Technology, met with the group to talk to them about servers and server rooms, why the group is receiving these servers, expectations for what they can do, how the NMC can help in the future, as well as a question and answer session.

Last, the student group were given the computer nodes and various tech equipment to take back to their school.

These machines have now been re-purposed for the 4th time. They were first used by LANL HPC, then the PRObE project, then the NMC and now the students of Monte del Sol will have a turn!  Contreras says, ” It was really cool to participate and see that those machines can now be used and avoid being salvaged for a few more years.”

Monte del Sol Charter School received 10 nodes from the NMC. In addition, the NMC provided ethernet cables, 2 small switches, and enough power cables to power the nodes. These nodes roughly have the following configuration:

  • 4 x Quad-Core AMD processors
  • 32GB of ram
  • 1 x 1 TB Hard drive

While the nodes were part of a larger cluster while in use at the NMC, they can be run independently of one another. The students will use them to learn about hardware and operating systems, and they’ll be able to install them with services ranging from web servers, and file servers, to other numerous services and configurations with the purpose of learning about IT infrastructure, computer science and computers in general.

The students will work with their school’s IT department to figure out the challenge of properly storing and cooling the 10 nodes. The NMC is committed to help if necessary.

As a part of NMC’s community outreach efforts, this initiative could be expanded on multiple levels. In the future, interested students could work at the NMC to assist with various server room tasks. The NMC could develop modules for students to coordinate with each other. For example, it could be advantageous to have a portal where all students can interact and resolve situations they encounter but also motivate other students by showing what they’ve done with the nodes given.

Nicholas Kunz, the North Central Region Coordinator of NM MESA comments, “We are grateful for the expertise that Omar Contreras and his staff at the New Mexico Consortium have shared with NM MESA students. We were inspired by the hands-on learning opportunities provided in the workshop and it was particularly valuable to hear their stories of success on the path to a great career in the world of computer science. The learning will continue with the gracious donation of the hardware to be used at the school site, and we look forward to more collaboration in the future!”

About the New Mexico Consortium
The New Mexico Consortium (NMC) is an innovative effort to engage universities and industry in scientific research in the nation’s interest and to increase the role of Los Alamos National Laboratory (LANL) in science, education and economic development. This non-profit corporation formed by the three New Mexico research universities focuses on facilitating collaborations at the Laboratory interface.

The NMC leverages capabilities at LANL, universities and industry and provides agile and
accountable operations to execute joint initiatives. The NMC develops and manages self-sustaining research facilities to support these joint initiatives. Through the NMC, the universities and LANL have developed more effective models to advance our nations interests and increase the impact of scientific research on the local and national economy.

For more information see the New Mexico Consortium’s website at: